Small-scale partnerships

Published in FSD Update

Intimate meetings often bring about valuable information.

When the weather outside is as cold as it has been the last couple of weeks, it’s really hard to think about taking a road trip. A quick look at a U.S. map reveals that there aren’t too many places at present where one can go to experience real warmth, a fact I learned last week when I ventured to Savannah, Ga., for the NACUFS Food Service Directors Symposium and Chefs Summit.

When NACUFS invited us to present a college and university version of The Big Picture, I readily agreed to go, thinking that I would escape the bitterly cold Midwest for at least a couple of days. Savannah, however, turned out to be not much above freezing. Fortunately, NACUFS’ hospitality added the warmth that the weather couldn’t provide.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t spend more time with the participants—I was the after-dinner speaker the night before the symposium officially kicked off and had to return home the next day. But from what I could see, the event underscores the value of partnerships in our industry.

The symposium is an annual gathering of 30 college foodservice directors or otherwise senior-level managers. Two-thirds of the operator attendees receive grants from sponsoring companies that defray much of the travel costs associated with the event. In return, the sponsors receive 20 minutes of quality time with each of those grant-receiving attendees. As the NACUFS website states, “It is not the time for a direct sales pitch—but rather, an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of potential issues, solutions, and partnerships for the future.”

It is rather hard to overstate the value of such one-on-one meetings and small-group gatherings. As eventful as the national conferences of organizations like NACUFS, AHF, SNA and others can be, many manufacturers will tell you that much of their most meaningful business is conducted in smaller venues.

Keywords: 
partnerships

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources