Busting out of the silo

Two Minnesota districts are working together for the betterment of their students.

“I’m being asked to do more with less.” It’s a woe I hear all the time—and not just from foodservice directors. It seems that since the economic crash in 2008, companies have tightened their purse strings and are asking employees to take on additional responsibilities, often without increased resources to help out.

In non-commercial foodservice, child nutrition professionals might be in the toughest situation. With all the new rules, regulations and changes from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the added responsibilities of FSDs in schools is quite daunting.

But two Minnesota district are finding ways to help each other out.

This past month I spoke with Bertrand Weber, director of culinary and nutrition services for the Minneapolis School District, and Monica McNaughton, R.D., assistant director of nutrition services for Saint Paul Public Schools. The two districts are working together to create menus, leverage their buying power to purchase better-for-you options and develop programs to educate students. One example is a new program to launch this fall called Minnesota Thursdays, where both districts will serve the same menu. That menu will be created from locally sourced foods.

It’s not always easy to ask for help—it’s something I struggle with—but at a time when everyone is doing more with less, why not reach out to your neighboring foodservice program and work together on projects?

I’m sure Minneapolis and Saint Paul aren’t alone in this endeavor. I’d love to hear about other operators who are working together to create programs or menus. The spirit of collaboration in non-commercial foodservice is great—that’s why we created a column called Steal This Idea. So shoot me an email and share your collaboration story. You can reach me at bschilling@cspnet.com.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

This semester, the East Quad dining team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is taking steps to offer more authentic global cuisine , Michigan Daily reports.

The team has partnered with the Office of Student Life to start a conversation with students on how best to create and serve Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Additionally, the university invited chefs from Japan and India to campus to help its chefs create more authentic recipes.

The school’s push for more accurate global cuisine was partially inspired by an international food event that got cancelled...

Industry News & Opinion
Madison food truck

The Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., has partnered with a local organization to debut a food truck that will serve healthy, locally sourced lunch options for Madison high school students, according to The Capital Times .

The truck, which was donated by the Emmi Roth Cheese Co., will visit four high schools Tuesday through Friday, spending a day at each campus. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch can use the food truck as they would the school cafeteria for no-cost or discounted meals.

Members of MMSD and partner organization REAP Food...

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

FSD Resources