What’s in a name?

Names and spellings do matter to most in the industry.

In Shakespeare’s tragedy "Romeo and Juliet," the fair maiden tells her lover that his name—Montague—is not important; rather, it is the type of person he is that matters.

In the second act, Juliet says to Romeo, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” For the purposes of the play, the line is a noble and heartfelt sentiment, and it does capture the very essence of the romance.

But in the world of business journalism, names do matter. Anyone who doesn’t believe that should try explaining it a source whose name has been misspelled or who has been given the wrong title in a news article or feature.

In the foodservice industry, people can be very particular about what they call things. With monikers come connotations: “quick-serve” suggests cheap fast food, while “fast casual” carries with it the idea of something a little more upscale. Coming up with just the right word or phrase for a concept can keep ad executives up at night. I’ve seen it even in the way people describe this industry we cover. When I began writing about foodservice, the term most often used was “institutional.” It certainly fit; most cafeterias, except for those in the B&I sector, were found in what are known as institutions. The founders of Restaurants & Institutions felt strongly enough about the nomenclature that they used it in the magazine’s title, even though many people in the industry bristled at the idea behind the name: stark, bland, low-quality, lacking imagination.

To appease those people, the term “non-commercial” was adopted. It is accurate even if it in not “sexy.” In reality, it has been little better than institutional. When I joined Nation’s Restaurant News in 1995, I crafted the term “on-site.” In my mind it was accurate—foodservice operations on the site of facilities whose main function was not serving food—but it still lacked something and has never really taken over. Fifteen years after that term was coined, there are people who still refer to this industry as “institutional.” I don’t know that we’ll ever come up with one term that clearly captures the essence of what our readers do.

A similar situation can occur when one segment of the industry “borrows” a concept from another segment. The name by which the concept is known becomes the default, whether or not it fits in every case. I believe that is what has happened with the idea gaining much traction in healthcare these days: room service.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
email

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

Ideas and Innovation
salmon and yogurt

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette, kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing, and leek soup with prickled cucumbers, to name a few.

Industry News & Opinion

Buckeye Union High School District in Buckeye, Ariz., has introduced monthly chef demos to encourage students to try different foods as well as healthy eating habits, AZ Family reports.

Each month, chefs conduct a lunchtime demo in the cafeteria at the district’s three high schools. After viewing the demo, students are then encouraged to sample some of the dish that was prepared.

The demos were introduced just after each of the cafeterias were renovated with a food court-style layout, allowing students to select from a variety of options during lunch.

Read the full...

Industry News & Opinion

Boston Public Schools is the latest district to join the Urban School Food Alliance, a nonprofit group that aims to help districts provide high-quality student meals while keeping costs down.

With the addition of Boston, the Alliance includes 11 schools and says it now reaches nearly 3.7 million students. The group has grown its total purchasing power to $831 million in food and supplies as it continues to increase its membership.

“Thanks to support from the Kendall Foundation, Boston’s membership in the Alliance will serve our mission of increasing access to locally and...

FSD Resources