Looking the part for noncommercial?

Hiring staff with tattoos or beards may equal a more creative workforce.

Katie Fanuko, Associate Editor

tattoo chef

Behind the swinging doors of noncommercial kitchens, tattoos don’t draw much contention, which is why at least one operator sees body art as a secret weapon to obtain top talent that otherwise might turn to restaurants.

Although he requires staff to cover all tattoos while interacting with residents, Matt Foxworthy, general manager of foodservices at Bivins Foundation, a senior living and long-term care community in Amarillo, Texas, relaxes the rules in the kitchen. He says this sets his team apart from surrounding senior-living facilities that aren’t as accepting of body art and allows him to draw from a larger creative pool—a concern for 77 percent of operators according to FoodService Director’s 2014 The Big Picture survey.

“When you allow creative people to come in, you’re going to get that creativity throughout your entire facility,” he says. “I think if you want to stay on the growing trends of the food industry, you have to take [tattoos] into consideration.”

Chef coats can be forgiving, allowing for more liberal policies on tattoos. Many organizations, including Aramark and Chartwells, require staff to wear long-sleeve chef coats, which conceal visible tattoos in front of guests. “We have a very diverse audience that we are feeding, and we want to make sure that we are as nonoffensive as possible,” says Mark Petrino, senior associate director of Residential Dining at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., whose self-op follows similar guidelines.

While they might have some wiggle room where tattoos are concerned, often operators aren’t as lenient with piercings and jewelry, which can pose a food-safety issue. Some allow stud earrings, but most other facial piercings or dangling jewelry is not acceptable.

To ensure that bearded employees follow the rules, some operators take disciplinary action when necessary. Employees who don’t wear a guard receive a verbal warning, followed by a written warning for subsequent violations, Petrino says. “We just can’t compromise on food safety,” he says. 

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
fish tacos

From High Liner Foods.

Younger consumers are driving an increased focus on sustainability, and more consumers overall are demanding a wider variety of seafood on menus. With shifting interest in seafood, operators need to be familiar with the seafood consumer—who they are, what they’re looking for and when they eat it—to more effectively boost interest in seafood dishes.

Understand consumer habits

Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report finds that 65% of consumers eat seafood at least occasionally (once every 90 days or more), either as an...

Industry News & Opinion

The Missouri House of Representatives has initially approved a bill that would enable students with dietary issues to forgo mandatory meal plans at public colleges and universities, U.S. News reports.

Approved Tuesday, the bill would grant students with medical documentation of food sensitivities, food allergies or medical dietary issues the right to opt out of meal plans.

Supporters of the bill say it will allow students to not have to pay for food they can’t safely eat, while opponents say that the bill will negatively impact schools financially. According to legislative...

Industry News & Opinion

A study released by Sodexo indicates that gender-balanced management improves team performance.

The 2018 study is an expansion of a previous Sodexo study that launched in 2014. The expanded study analyzed 50,000 managers in all levels of management from 70 entities around the world over five years.

The study found that teams managed by 40% to 60% women had better employee and client retention, saw fewer workplace accidents and increased their operating margins and employee engagement.

Industry News & Opinion

Rick Farmer, executive chef for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Stephanie Powers, executive chef of Spring Harbor, a retirement community in Columbus, Ga., were crowned the winners of MenuDirections’ 2018 Culinary Competition.

Split into teams of two, chefs had 60 minutes to prepare and plate their own entrees using a preselected basket of ingredients such as beans, mushrooms and orange sauce. Each dish was judged on its presentation, taste and creativity.

The winning dish was orange glazed pork with a black bean and wild mushroom cake topped...

FSD Resources