Ready for Some Football?

A Morrison foodservice operator sees playing up “team” spirit for the Kansas City Chiefs boosts interest, sales and morale.

For creating “team” spirit—that is, energizing your foodservice stalwarts as well as the customers you serve—almost nothing beats throwing a tailgate party in the cafeteria, according to a foodservice operator in Kansas City.

You might figure that he works in a school or college campus setting since such hoopla would seem to be the perfect fit for either sector. But Stephen Mikitish is food and nutrition department senior director at 225-bed Truman Medical Center, a Morrison Management Specialists account in this city, home of the NFL’s Chiefs, Major League Baseball’s Royals and other assorted minor-league and college teams in numerous sports.

At Truman, despite the close proximity of a fast-food restaurant, Mikitish and staff serve some 800 to 1,100 customers their lunchtime meal each day. Cafeteria sales often jump from a daily lunchtime average of about $2,800 to approximately $4,000 whenever a special event is scheduled.

This Alabama native has been in Missouri—and at this location—five-and-a-half years, so now, like most of his customers, he’s a staunch Kansas City Chiefs fan. He soon discovered that providing an opportunity to rally for the home team makes good sense, monetarily and psychologically.

Good excuse: “Basically, it’s an excuse to dress up, spruce up the place and show some spirit,” he says. “It’s very energizing for my staff and the medical center staff as a whole. Typically, we offer tickets to the next game or other prizes such as footballs. Customers must wear red—the Chiefs’ colors are red and gold—to be eligible to put their name in the bowl for prizes. If they’re not wearing red, a piece of red paper pinned to their clothing will do.”

Mikitish recalls that two years ago the hospital had gone through a couple of major reviews by the state. Since preparing for that is stressful, he figured he’d do something special to lighten up the atmosphere—it was time to throw a tailgate party complete with burgers, bratwursts and hot dogs on the grill. Pre-event excitement was so high—and the concept so unique for a healthcare facility—that camera crews from four TV stations showed up for the event as well.

Come on down: “In any business, with 1,500 (captive) employees, some start to carry lunch from home,” Mikitish explains. “This is a good way to get them to come down to the cafeteria again. We do the grilling on the patio and, if the weather is good, they can sit out there to eat. Otherwise, we set up at our exhibition area, the Spice of Life station. We decorate with photos and streamers, plus we may ask for the hard-core Chiefs fans to bring down memorabilia. For $300 to $400—including caps or team jerseys for our foodservice staff—the place is really transformed.

“Overall, there’s no downside,” Mikitish continues. “Your staff has a lot of fun, you get people to re-focus on the cafeteria, and administration appreciates it.”

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

Sponsored Content
Pierce boneless wings

From Pierce Chicken.

Spicy chicken wings have taken off as an iconic American food since their debut at the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964. They reached a new milestone during Super Bowl 50 weekend in February, when more than 1.3 billion wings were consumed, according to the National Chicken Council.

The emergence of boneless wings—breaded, boneless chunks of chicken breast with zesty flavors—has made a good thing even better. In fact, research shows that boneless wings complement traditional bone-in wings on restaurant menus, boosting the entire wing...

FSD Resources