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

Industry News & Opinion

The new unpaid-balance policy at Canon-McMillan School District in Pittsburgh is making waves after a former cafeteria worker sounded off about the practice on social media.

Stacy Koltiska said she quit her job with the district after being forced to take hot meals away from students who owed lunch money, CBS News reports .

Under a new policy that was implemented at Canon-McMillan this year, students whose lunch debt exceeds $25 are not allowed to receive a hot lunch. Children in grades K-6 are given a sandwich in its place, and older students receive no lunch. A recent...

Industry News & Opinion

Due to low participation in its lunch program, Talawanda School District in Oxford, Ohio, is raising the price of school meals this year, Patch.com reports .

The cost of school lunches will see a 30-cent increase, half of which is being enacted to cover the district’s budget. The other half is being required by the government to cover the cost of free and reduced-price lunches provided to low-income families. Prior to this year, the district had not raised prices since 2009.

The district’s cafeterias have experienced a decline in student participation since implementing the...

Industry News & Opinion

Six Philadelphia hospitals were honored by the city’s department of public health for healthy food initiatives introduced as part of the local Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, bizjournals.com reports .

The hospitals each debuted healthy measures to their dining services, such as lowering the cost of water bottles and seltzers, and offering dishes that incorporate local produce. One hospital was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The facilities that were honored were:

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern...
Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

FSD Resources