FoodService Director | February 2011

The Best...Instead of trying to come up with a definitive "Best Of" list, where we tell what we think is best, we turned to non-commercial operators to share their personal bests in several categories.

FSD of the Month

Gary Coyle is a man with time on his hands, courtesy of a 70-minute commute to his job as director of dining services at 17,700-student Washington State University. During that daily drive to Pullman...

Research

Among our 276 respondents, 82% offer catering. Virtually everyone in B&I and colleges provides this service, while 94% of hospitals, 74% of schools and 68% of long-term care facilities do.
Respondents reported nearly a 20-cent increase in food costs for lunch, and more schools report serving breakfast in the classroom than last year.

Steal this idea

All year long we have a farmers’ market every month outside our cafeteria. We buy as much produce from local farmers as possible, and even have had farmers sell their products at our market...
We ran a contest to get “going green” ideas from students. They gave us more than 100 ideas for what we could do to make not only our operation but also the campus greener. We...
Each year one school invites parents to lunch. The first year I noticed that our meals dropped significantly on these days as parents brought in outside food. I asked the principal if we could turn...
We were trying to reduce the salt and sugar without sacrificing taste. In reducing the salt aspect I wanted to create an all-purpose seasoning that was salt free and close to Mrs. Dash, so I came up...
For Halloween we did a theme meal centered on “The Flintstones.” The associates dressed up and we made a replica of the Flintstones. The menu included Brontosaurus Burgers,...
We do a dinner theater, which is a collaboration between the high school drama department, the food class and myself. They pick a theme and perform short plays that they wrote. The food class helps...
With all the vampire shows and movies around, we decided to make our Halloween event a Welcome to the Coven event. Everyone was dressed as vampires. We had True Blood in labeled bottles. For the food...
We do a lunch for dinner. We invite parents and families to school and serve them an actual school meal that is on our menu that month. It is a great way for working parents to experience what their...
This fall, we decided not to serve canned soda or bottled water at our grab-and-go locations. Instead of offering cans and bottles, we now encourage students to make use of stainless steel water...
If you know your employees well enough you can give them meaningful rewards, which don’t cost a lot of money. For example, if you have someone who really likes professional baseball, you...
We held a Night at the Movies event where we had the students guess the movie by the food we served. For example, we served Greek lamb and potato kabobs with pita, lemon wedges and tzatziki sauce,...
At Thanksgiving we held a turkey cooking class. Parents signed up for the class, which featured free-range, organic and vegetarian-fed turkeys. It was a one-hour class that taught everyone about...

Ingredients

Even as more Americans look to eat healthier, the popularity of cheese seems to be surging. Pizza, mac and cheese and cheeseburgers remain ubiquitous, but chefs also are experimenting with more...

Confessions

Tony Almeida, director of food and nutrition at 608-bed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., hasn’t joined the organic and sustainable bandwagon but loves chocolate-covered raspberries.

Five Questions

Nancy Rice, Director of School Nutrition Division for the Georgia Department of Education and School Nutrition Association president, talked to FSD about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in store...

Retail Experience

Tucked away inside a bustling campus building at 11,300-student Washington University in St. Louis is an intimate 50-seat restaurant called Ibby’s, the newest addition to Bon App&eacute...

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

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