Managing Your Business: August 2013

N.J. Hospital Takes Over MOW Contract, Williston State College Plans $11 Million Renovation and more.

Published in FSD Update

> 400%

The increase in the price of a foodservice health permit for Saint Paul Public Schools, in Minnesota. The price hike comes after the state departments of health and agriculture took over inspections of city businesses and restaurants, according to the Pioneer Press. For decades, the city of Saint Paul had performed the service. Jean Ronnie, director of nutrition services for the district, says she has contacted the state to receive confirmation regarding the cost of a license, but she hasn’t been able to confirm the price spike.

> Williston State College Plans $11 Million Renovation

Williston State College, in North Dakota, will undergo an $11.6 million reconstruction of its Teton Grill dining facility this fall. This is the first renovation at the college in nearly 40 years, and it’s long overdue: In the past 18 months, the town’s population has doubled from 12,000 to 24,000. “Right now I work in a space that’s 20 feet by 35 feet,” Teton Grill Manager Holly Cummins says. “We serve 300 meals a day or better out of our dining services—it hasn’t been remodeled since 1979.”

Cummins says the lack of space has forced her to all but discourage members of the community from visiting her kitchen in recent years. Space has been a precious commodity in Williston ever since an oil boom several years ago brought an influx of new residents, raising the average rent on a two-bedroom apartment to around $2,500 a month.

“I want to bring my people back. I miss my local people,” Cummins says. “I love my college students, but I want my next generation to come in and eat with their parents and hang out at this place.” Once the renovations are complete, Cummins estimates the new facility should be able to serve an additional 300 people a day.

The new location will feature an open kitchen with a pasta bar and a larger seating area.

> N.J. Hospital Takes Over MOW Contract

Last year, the foodservice team at Newton Medical Center, in New Jersey, was asked by the Sussex County Meals on Wheels program to bid on its services. Greg Merkle, manager of food and nutrition at the 100-bed hospital, agreed and the hospital took over meal preparation in November 2012 under a one-year contract.

In addition to providing additional revenue for the foodservice department, the contract has enabled Newton to become more active in the community. It hasn’t hurt on the P.R. front either; Merkle
says participation in the program is up and the hospital is getting rave reviews for its food.

“The contract used to be managed by a nursing home,” Merkle explains. “We were excited to be given the opportunity to bid because we are always looking for ways to be involved in the community.”

Newton is currently preparing about 200 meals a day, in bulk, for the program, which serves four congregate meal sites in addition to about 80 shut-ins. The local arm of Catholic Charities picks up the food and takes it to a distribution site where it is either sent on to the congregate sites or portioned into trays for delivery to homes.

“We’ve been told that since we began preparing meals, participation in the community has increased by almost 30%,” Merkle says. “We have received rave reviews from recipients thanking us for providing food with fresh ingredients that is also nutritious.”

Aside from the income, Merkle adds that “it just felt like the right thing to do. A lot of the meal recipients are also our patients from time to time.” He expects the contract to be renewed. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA analyzed the efficacy of using Medicaid data to certify students for free or reduced-price lunch, a provision included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Participating states and districts reported conflicting data on changes in the percentage of students certified, number of meals served, federal reimbursements and certification costs.

The method is used as an alternative to household applications and data matching with other public benefit programs to streamline the certification of more low-income students. The program was first piloted statewide in Kentucky...

Ideas and Innovation
kids students cafeteria line

While summer feeding programs are commonplace in school districts across the country, foodservice operators still struggle to get the word out and kids in.

Many districts are scaling back or discontinuing their summer feeding programs due to low participation, citing staffing costs and other issues that make it difficult to break even and provide a profitable program.

“We need to find a way to encourage that participation,” Tom Freitas—foodservice director for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Mich.—told Record Eagle News . “We are open to ideas as long as...

Industry News & Opinion

Students and union representatives are petitioning Eastern Michigan University’s plan to outsource its foodservice operations, calling for the school to delay such a move to allow for further discussion with stakeholders, MLive reports .

EMU last week announced a tentative agreement to hand over its residential, catering and retail foodservices to Chartwells, a deal the university’s interim president avered would enable the school to expand and upgrade its eateries while maintaining high food quality, MLive says.

Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about what they...

Sponsored Content
whole grain pasta foodservice menu

From Barilla.

With younger consumers eager to explore new flavors and better-for-you options, whole-grain pasta is winning greater acceptance in American diets.

As more and more college and university students seek out whole grains in their meals, dishes featuring whole grains are on-deck to become menu mainstays.

At the University of Iowa, whole-grain foods have won general acceptance, says Barry Greenberg, executive chef for university dining. Two marketplace dining facilities on campus offer whole-grain pasta as a regular option and incorporate it into baked...

FSD Resources