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

Respondents reported nearly a 20-cent increase in food costs for lunch, and more schools report serving breakfast in the classroom than last year.
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.

Steal this idea

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...
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...

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...

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Today’s students care deeply about sustainability—much more so than the general population. For them, sustainable practices are visit drivers. What’s more, some 57% of students are willing to pay more for sustainable foods, according to Technomic’s recent College & University Consumer Trend Report . Sustainable claims drive visits, especially for young consumers: Some 31% of Gen Zers say they’re more likely to visit restaurants that try to be sustainable.

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Industry News & Opinion

Mayfield High School in Mayfield, Ohio, has opened a coffee cart in its cafeteria, The News-Herald reports .

Open throughout the day, the cart sells 12-ounce cups of coffee for $2 each. Students were able to taste-test some of the offerings and were also involved in choosing the cart’s name.

The drinks are made with low-fat milk and unsweetened flavor syrups, and soy milk is on hand for those with allergies. To encourage more breakfast participation, the school gives students 50 percent off coffee when they also buy a breakfast item. Additionally, the cart is stationed next...

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Catering to the go-go-go lifestyle of university students is a challenge, and it’s one that Boston College dining representatives wrestle with daily.

“Students don’t just want to eat dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.,” says Beth Emery, the school’s director of dining. “They may want to eat dinner at 9 o’clock. We’ve been trying to come up with creative solutions.”

Those creative solutions include everything from offering breakfast items throughout the day to providing healthier late-night choices to trolling social media for trendy new menu ideas...

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What consumers eat and, most importantly, when they’re eating it has changed significantly in recent years, signaling opportunity for operators able to capitalize on this evolution.

For example, some 83% of consumers said they were daily snackers in 2016, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report . That’s up from 76% just two years earlier. Snacking is growing across many channels from retail prepared foods to bakery and coffee cafes, fast-food locations and more.

Busy lifestyles, smaller households with greater meal...

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