Desserts: Frozen treats

Gelato’s exclusivity makes for a customer favorite frozen treat.

Published in FSD Update

frozen-treats

Colorado State’s gelato offerings. 

There’s growing customer awareness for gelato. Yet, despite its popularity, there remains an exclusivity element that bolsters sales since it’s not available everywhere. Bryan Varin, associate director of meal plan operations at the University of Georgia, in Athens, knew he wanted an elite menu when he opened a new small dining commons named Niche. Gelato, because of its upscale reputation, helped him achieve this goal. Though the facility seats only 100, and gelato is served only during lunch, Niche has gone through nearly 4,500 quarts of gelato in just two semesters. “It’s evident that the product is very popular—in fact, though our meal plan is unlimited, when we analyze inventory, usage and customer feedback, we know gelato is a customer favorite,” Varin says.

In addition to being upscale, gelato gives operators a way to offer an authentic ethnic treat. Gail Lozoff, a partner in SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, which has been contracted by Sodexo to open at the University of Central Missouri, in Warrensburg, serves 30 flavors of gelato. “We are a pizzeria serving authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, [and since] gelato is authentic Italian ice cream, it not only matches our brand, it allows us to offer a rotating selection of flavors that keeps the menu fresh with unexpected new choices,” Lozoff says. Gourmet mix-ins including California blood oranges, Michigan sugar and Ecuadorian cocoa beans are available. 

Damien Franczek, general manager of Aravalli at the Devon Energy Center, a Guckenhiemer-managed account in Oklahoma City, has also found gelato success. Aravalli offers nine flavors (including chocolate, espresso, stracciatella and orange dreamsicle). The impetus for serving gelato was the Illy coffee poured in the shop. “We decided to feature other true tastes of Europe and Italy, and now offer gelato every day,” he says. Franczek spins the sweet treat into other frozen delights, like gelato cookie sandwiches, shakes, pies and affogato. It’s a great way to keep things fresh and minimize waste from overrun, he adds.

For Peter Testory, assistant director of support and culinary operations at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, the reverse occurred. After his milkshake program became extremely popular, Testory decided to make his own product using gelato to achieve a “better quality end result.” Sales skyrocketed from 400 milkshakes per day to 700, nearly 60% of which are made with gelato. Now Testory offers eight flavors of gelato every day, in addition to three rotating specialty flavors. “The sales of gelato far surpass the sales of the other ice cream options,” Testory says. “This past school year we sold 20,854 gelato items compared to 6,192 ice cream products.”

Sourcing

When it comes to gelato, there’s an array of sourcing options. You can buy premade, ready-to-serve gelato or you can purchase a base like Testory does. “We use this product for consistency purposes—it gives us the necessary ingredients to obtain the proper texture, structure, freezing and melting point—and it helps eliminate some of the additional ingredients such as glucose, dextrose and milk powder that need to be measured every time,” Testory says.

Finally, you can make the base from scratch like Franczek does. “We use the very best ingredients, including cage-free eggs, fresh fruit, premium chocolate and pure vanilla bean paste from Madagascar,” he notes. Franczek makes three housemade bases (crema, chocolate and espresso) that can be made into many variations. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
millennial employee handshake

Boy, is it ever fun being a member of the millennial generation. On the one hand, there’s a bevy of seasoned bosses and co-workers who typecast us as lazy, easily distracted, entitled upstarts who don’t value older generations’ experience. And on the other hand, there’s an economy that we entered at the exact wrong time that—while it is recovering—required us to settle for less pay and fewer benefits at the beginning of our careers, stunting our growth trajectory right from the start. (Whoops, there I go playing right into our complain-y stereotype.)

Like us or not, the millennial...

Ideas and Innovation
fidget spinner

While they may be a nuisance to parents, restaurants are finding an unexpected use for trendy fidget spinners. A chef at Houston seafood spot Reef posted a video to Instagram to show off the new technique: dripping sauce over the toy while it’s spinning on a plate to make creative designs.

Sponsored Content
ballpark stadium food trends

From Bush’s Best ® .

Whether it’s at a college or university, a minor league game or a major league game, sports stadiums offer an array of delicious foods that sports fans love. A look at what’s happening in stadiums’ food offerings spotlights a few trends that foodservice directors should keep an eye on and adapt for their own menus.

1. More pork options

According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, powered by Ignite, instances of pork on stadium menus have increased 33% year-over-year. Going ultra-indulgent with pork is trending, too—Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., serves...

Sponsored Content
blended burger mushrooms

From The James Beard Foundation.

Blending meat and mushrooms in burgers and other iconic foods is a major trend heralded by a number of trendsetters and publications.

As many know, this trend was started by college and university chefs and dining directors because they could create better burgers (and meatballs, tacos and meatloaf) by blending at least 25% ground mushrooms in with beef. These operators knew that “the blend” was better-tasting, better for the environment, better nutritionally and better for holding because of the juicier texture.

In return for being...

FSD Resources