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

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources