Food and a funeral?

No-food ban for Pennsylvania funeral homes is lifted.

Last month I read an interesting article in the York (Pa.) Dispatch, about funeral homes and foodservice. The article was prompted by the lifting of a fifty-year-old ban that prohibited food from being served in Pennsylvania funeral homes. Four other states have a similar ban. 

“We have had families request food hospitality—anything from cookies to finger sandwiches,” Ernie Heffner, funeral director at a West Manchester Township funeral home, said in the article. “It’s been uncomfortable to say no because the law hasn’t allowed it. We as providers of service should never be in a position to tell a customer no.”

Heffner added: “Families never get together for any event without food except during funerals in Pennsylvania.”

Now that the ban is lifted, some funeral directors say it wouldn’t be easy to implement a foodservice program. Space, expertise, and food safety and sanitation issues were all listed in the article as impediments to starting a foodservice program.

The article got me thinking: Is foodservice in funeral homes a natural business extension? I’m from the South, and food is a major part of every gathering, funerals included. But there’s something uncomfortable to me about eating in the same place as my loved one’s body. We normally eat at a church, restaurant or family member’s home following a funeral. To be fair, I’m not sure which of the other four states have the no-food ban, so I can’t say for certain if the funeral homes I’ve been in are even allowed to offer such a service. But even if they were, I don’t think it’s an appropriate place to sit down for a meal. I normally want to get outta dodge as soon as possible.

I suppose for some it might be a relief to be able to have one more thing checked off the to-do list when planning a funeral, something, thankfully, I’ve never had to do myself. But I’ve heard it’s a lot more work and hassle than you’d think, especially considering the mental state you’re in after a loved one’s death.

I’d love to hear what you guys think. Are foodservice programs at funeral homes a good idea? Sounds off in the comments section below, or shoot me an email at bschilling@cspnet.com

Update: I came across this story today, about a funeral home in South Carolina that is building a Starbucks coffee shop on its premises to provide foodservice to its customers and community.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources