Sodexo goes “In My Kitchen” for new promotional series

Celebrity chefs come to clients in this series.

Published in FSD Update

Sodexo’s Brand Management division is bringing celebrity chefs to its clients through a new promotional series called In My Kitchen. The series, which will feature three themes during a one-year period, hopes to capitalize on research Sodexo has conducted regarding customer behavior.

“We conducted some consumer research to better understand the perceived value of menu items that are associated with a known chef,” says Heidi Hastings-Brien, senior director of marketing for Brand Management. “Our research demonstrated that it does increase customers’ propensity to buy something. We thought we could create some excitement by putting together a portfolio of chefs that would develop a host of recipes for us.”

The first element in the series, called Close To Home, was introduced this fall and will run through the end of the year. The chefs involved in Close To Home include Barton Seaver, Marvin Woods and Virginia Willis, as well as Sodexo chef Ernest Servantes, who appeared on The Food Network’s “Chopped” and was named its Grill Masters Champion.

Each of the chefs has contributed two items, and clients are free to highlight whichever chefs and menu items they want.

Seaver, a chef and National Geographic Fellow, created Orange Scented Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Mint Pesto. Woods, a cookbook author and TV cooking personality, contributed Blackened Chicken and Avocado Wrap and Roasted Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Fiesta Rice. Willis, owner of Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, drew up a Peach & Dijon Glazed Pork Sandwich and Oven-Fried Chicken Wrap. Servantes, currently the executive chef at Texas Lutheran College, created a Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Jicama Slaw and a Chipotle Chicken Fajita Wrap. 

“We’ve gotten great feedback on the program thus far,” Hastings-Brien says,” not just from customers and clients but from our own employees as well. We’ve been monitoring sales of In My Kitchen items versus regular menu items, and whenever these dishes are offered they are usually among the top sellers.”

Hastings-Brien adds that Sodexo is running a contest among its chefs and managers based on how they use In My Kitchen in their dining facilities. Selected employees will get to have one of the chefs visit their operation.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
Mrs. T’s pierogies

From Mrs. T’s Foodservice.

Today’s college and university students demand customization, but they also seek out creative riffs on familiar dishes, making comfort food an area of opportunity for college & university operators.

This is especially true as more restaurants across all sectors add comfort-food favorites such as meatloaf, potato tots and loaded fries to menus.

Operators are already starting to see how a comforting, customizable ingredient such as pierogies meets those needs: Menu mentions of pierogies as an entree are up 9.3% over the last two years,...

Sponsored Content
local produce

From WinCup.

Today’s students care deeply about sustainability—much more so than the general population. For them, sustainable practices are visit drivers. What’s more, some 57% of students are willing to pay more for sustainable foods, according to Technomic’s recent College & University Consumer Trend Report . Sustainable claims drive visits, especially for young consumers: Some 31% of Gen Zers say they’re more likely to visit restaurants that try to be sustainable.

Students are looking for foodservice operations with comprehensive sustainability programs, and...

Industry News & Opinion

Mayfield High School in Mayfield, Ohio, has opened a coffee cart in its cafeteria, The News-Herald reports .

Open throughout the day, the cart sells 12-ounce cups of coffee for $2 each. Students were able to taste-test some of the offerings and were also involved in choosing the cart’s name.

The drinks are made with low-fat milk and unsweetened flavor syrups, and soy milk is on hand for those with allergies. To encourage more breakfast participation, the school gives students 50 percent off coffee when they also buy a breakfast item. Additionally, the cart is stationed next...

Sponsored Content
boston college acai bowl

From Dannon Foodservice.

Catering to the go-go-go lifestyle of university students is a challenge, and it’s one that Boston College dining representatives wrestle with daily.

“Students don’t just want to eat dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.,” says Beth Emery, the school’s director of dining. “They may want to eat dinner at 9 o’clock. We’ve been trying to come up with creative solutions.”

Those creative solutions include everything from offering breakfast items throughout the day to providing healthier late-night choices to trolling social media for trendy new menu ideas...

FSD Resources