On The Road

My visit to the University of New Hampshire.

Despite what our expense reports might suggest, my staff and I don’t get out of the office enough. But I did get the opportunity to visit with a few readers last week when I traveled to the University of New Hampshire.

I’d driven to Durham, N.H., to see firsthand the Chef Assist program that FoodService Director created with the California Raisin Marketing Board. The program brings together the CRMB and its consultant chef, Todd Downs, with university chefs to develop recipes using California raisins.

UNH is the fourth university to take part in the program, and I wanted to find out what the chefs and others in the dining program thought about it. In the process I got to see some interesting initiatives being undertaken by the UNH dining team. (More about those in future issues of FSD.)

I also got to meet with some other directors at institutions in New Hampshire and Vermont, most notably Joe Stanislaus and Scott Schiesser at Elliott Hospital in Manchester, N.H., where hospital-wide room service is mere weeks away from reality.

The trip was also a chance to experience some new tastes, such as emu, otherwise known as the bird that doesn’t taste like chicken, and yak.

In telling our publisher, Bill Anderson, about my visits and what I had learned, he jokingly (I think) suggested that perhaps I should become like a Charles Kurault and go “On The Road.” I don’t think that’s realistic, given the economy and my other job duties, but it is intriguing nonetheless.

On occasion, over the last couple of years, we have done “FSD Goes To . . .” in the magazine, visiting operators in cities where we happened to be for conferences. Those visits have always provided valuable insight into the noncommercial foodservice industry and helped strengthen the bonds we have with readers. So it was with this all-too-brief visit to New England.

We are bombarded with emails and phone calls from operators wanting to tell us their stories, and we do the best we can with the resources we have. But photos and phone interviews give us only a partial picture of what a foodservice operation is like—the difference, say, between seeing a drawing of a box and holding the box itself.

In presentations I have done at various industry conference and seminars on such topics as technology and social networking, I always remind audiences that foodservice is a people business, and no viral marketing programs, Facebook fan pages and online discussion groups can substitute for face-to-face contact with customers and colleagues. The same is true for us, and my wish for 2010 is that I and my editors get more opportunities to come on to your campuses, visit your schools, walk through your hospitals and visit your corporate cafeterias.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
woman surprise

When I joined the staff at FoodService Director in the spring of 2015, I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn about the intricacies of the industry. My past experience, from kindergarten to my college days to on-the-job meals, would lead me to believe that noncommercial dining was a kind of automated process—an amenity that’s expected, and one you only become aware of if something goes wrong.

But as with my own household chores, there are no magical elves making sure the business of feeding students, seniors and hospital patients is done, and done well. Foodservice...

Managing Your Business
hands team

In November, students at University of Missouri in Columbia began leading protests against discrimination faced by people of color on campus—including some marches through the dining halls. Julaine Kiehn, director of the school’s campus dining services, said the 2015-16 school year was a tough one, but she was proud of MU’s students for being at the forefront of a national movement.

And not only did the protests launch important conversations with students, but also with staff. Kiehn heard the protests and thought that her student workers, at least, might not feel safe and welcome...

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

Ideas and Innovation
elderly old hands

A family’s request for at-home meal support for a patient at Lee Memorial in Fort Myers, Fla., led System Director of Food & Nutrition Services Larry Altier to uncover a gap in care. He saw that only 1% of patients had been coded (diagnosed and labeled for billing purposes) as malnourished, while more than 60% of all Lee Memorial patients are over 65 years or older, a population that experiences the issue at a higher rate.

His discovery helped more rigorously identify malnutrition, but it also strengthened Lee Memorial’s community connection. The hospital launched a delivery...

FSD Resources