Beverages: From the tap

Directors push tap water because of its economical advantages.

Published in FSD Update

What if there were a way to decrease beverage costs, improve customer health and positively impact the environment? Many operators are doing exactly that with tap water initiatives. Take it from Tara Sanders, R.D., dietitian at Oregon State University (OSU), in Corvallis, who recently implemented a student-led tap water program called Fresh From the Faucet.

In an attempt to make tap water the top beverage choice, all dining centers, retail locations and catering services offer tap water in ice dispensers, and all water fountains have been retrofitted with water bottle fillers. Students were also given free reusable water bottles. Sanders reports dispensing more than 8,000 gallons of tap water annually, and a 10% decline in bottled beverage and fountain sales each year.

Infusion inspiration

OSU’s program also includes flavored tap water stations, where dispensers offer water infused with ingredients like citrus and cucumber. “A little flavor goes a long way, so expense is minimal,” Sanders explains. “Have fun and be creative with infusions of fruits and herbs that are fitting for the season.”

Laura Lapp, director of nutrition for Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, agrees. Lapp also has implemented tap water infusions using a seemingly endless combination of fruits, vegetables and herbs (lemon-cucumber-mint, orange-cranberry and cantaloupe-strawberry, to name a few), which get layered with ice in clear glass reusable containers and topped with tap water—an eye-catching visual, which not only creates a fun dining experience but also an environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water.

“Guests can now enjoy refreshing, calorie-free, sugar-free and caffeine-free beverages,” she says.

Branding

The key to a successful program lies in branding. For example, Sanders placed the program’s logo on the free water bottles that were distributed and also employs maps where students can find filtered water on campus and strategically placed branded posters, clings and stickers near water fountains and stations.

Michael Rosenberger, director of food and nutrition services for the Irving Independent School District, in Texas, can relate. Rosenberger recently branded all of his school’s water fountains with their own unique image, including a professional graphics placard, information about water and its health benefits.

“We wanted to try and make drinking tap water a cool thing, and offering tap water from water fountains was the most economical and socially acceptable option,” says Rosenberger, who admits that spills from water pitchers created a safety hazard for students. “Our signs increase the appeal of regular drinking water, and some fun facts help educate our children regarding the importance of drinking water on a regular basis.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder has officially bowed out of consideration for the cabinet position, according to the Associated Press .

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.—was tired of being under fire for hiring an undocumented immigrant as a nanny and being accused 26 years ago of physically abusing his wife, an unnamed source told CBS News . The agency reported that Puzder was unlikely to show for the start of his confirmation hearings tomorrow.

Puzder has also been attacked by organized labor for comments suggesting that...

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

Industry News & Opinion

James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., recently hosted a weeklong program called Weigh the Waste, which aimed to show students how much food gets wasted in dining halls, The Breeze reports.

Throughout the week, students placed food they were about to throw away on a scale located near the trash bins at one of their dining halls. At the end of the week, the school tallied the waste and saw that 817 pounds of food had been wasted.

School officials hope that the annual program, which it’s hosted since 2015, will remind dining hall patrons to only take as much food as...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

FSD Resources