2017 trend: Making more with less

ingredients sheet

Food costs overwhelmingly influence what goes on noncommercial menus, according to our survey. For 49% of respondents, the price of ingredients always impacts menu choices;
32% say it often is a factor. But Chefs’ Council members are skilled at controlling costs without diminishing perceived value. Here’s how they’ll deliver the biggest bang for the buck. 

Vegetable tart Provencal

vegetable tart

"Vegetable tart Provencal is a small piece of puff pastry with slices of zucchini, a few grape tomatoes and some caramelized onion. Even at our low price point of $4 we’re at well under 20% food cost, but the perceived value is very high because its ‘fancy’ factor is high. Plus, it gives the impression of being both healthy and indulgent.”

—Eric Eisenberg
Swedish Health Services

Pork shoulder

pork chili verde

“We cook whole pork shoulders to use in several applications. I am experimenting with braised pork chili verde, which can be shredded for taco filling or diced for a stew with rice and beans.”

—Eli Huff
Salt Food Group

Legumes

lentils bowl

“Legumes are great on the wallet, and we can introduce them into our menu in a variety of options with delicious success.”

—Cameron clegg
Parkhurst Dining

Grain bowls

thrive 360 avo farro bowl

“We’re buying less beef and adding grain bowls. They offer a personalized dish with interesting flavor profiles, and can fit the needs of vegan, halal and gluten-sensitive students.

—Bill Claypool
Vanderbilt University

Rice and beans

rice beans bowl

“Rice and beans have always delivered high flavor, protein, variety and value. Also good ol’ grilled cheese and tomato soup combos never fail to satisfy and sell.”

—Tracey MacRae
University of Washington

Beef tenderloin tail

beef tenderloin

“Beef tenderloin tail is as tender as a filet, since it comes from the same piece, but offers much better value.”

—Nicola Torres
The Garlands of Barrington

Build-your-own stations

moes ingredients line closeup

“More build-your-own stations for students. They get to pick exactly what they want so it reduces waste.”

—Callie Fowler
Union Public Schools

Reduced portion sizes

small portion filet mignon

“Reducing portion sizes on high-cost items.”

—Carrie Anderson
University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign

Roast chicken

roasted chicken

“The USDA commodity roast chicken is a lower-cost item that can be menued in multiple ways—jerk chicken, barbecue chicken, baked chicken, etc. Because it resembles chicken that students get at restaurants, they are more likely to participate on the days it is menued.”

—Kevin Frank
Detroit Public Schools

Beef brisket

beef brisket sliced

“Beef brisket. It’s simple and cost-effective, saving on labor and the food budget.”

—Gregory Gefroh
University of North Dakota

Sushi

sushi chopsticks hand

“Sushi. I think the market and margins have already been set, so our students are accustomed to the price range.”

—William Brizzolara
North Carolina State University

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Italian food hall chain Eataly is making plans for a 2018 initial public offering in its home country, according to a report this week in Financial Times.

The company plans to list shares on the Italian stock exchange in Milan “as early as next year,” Eataly Executive Chairman Andrea Guerra told Financial Times .

Eataly is eager to expand the presence of its massive Italian food emporiums in the U.S., which have helped spur the growing food hall trend . The company has five locations here, with two in New York City and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Financial...

Industry News & Opinion

Students staffing the foodservice department at Rutgers University will soon get an hourly pay bump, as the New Brunswick, N.J., university is raising its wage for student workers to $11 an hour, philly.com reports.

The increase will go in effect Jan. 1 and will impact 13,000 students.

The fight to raise wages at the school was spearheaded by student group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which is continuing to push the university to increase student wages to $15.

The fight for a $15 wage for student workers has spread at schools throughout the country,...

Industry News & Opinion

After shutting down 265 schools due to ongoing wildfires, the Los Angeles Unified School District kept three schools open on Friday and Saturday to provide meals for students and their families, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At one of the schools, employees and volunteers handed out around 100 meals on Friday and 270 meals on Saturday. The meals included items such as dragonfruit punch, raisins, bananas, sunflower kernels, whole-grain cinnamon graham crackers, sunflower seed butter and fat-free chocolate milk.

Around 80% of students in the district come from low-income...

Sponsored Content
Breakfast chili

From Bush’s Best®.

While decadent plates of French toast and pancakes stacked high will always be breakfast favorites, it’s undeniable that savory breakfast items are on the rise in many foodservice operations. Menu items such as avocado toast and omelets aren’t new, of course, but consumers’ preferences for better-for-you food choices, along with their desire for global flavors, are driving this trend.

According to a recent Technomic Breakfast report, consumer demand for vegetarian ingredients has led to an increase of ingredients like soy, tofu, beans, lentils, seeds,...

FSD Resources