FoodService Director | July 2014

The Big Idea: It can start with something as small as a piece of fruit. We present our annual lineup of 10 innovative concepts that you can steal for your operation.

FSD of the Month

Randy Lait has transformed dining at North Carolina State University by leading the development and construction of 16 new campus dining units.


Other highlights in our 2014 Hospital Census include an increase in patient and retail meal counts.

Steal this idea

Every summer we do a culinary camp for kids. They get to wear the chef’s coat and everything. We focus on a different culture every day, so they get to do Spanish or African, etc.
We integrated our nutrition analysis process into our computerized recipe software, allowing us to use live nutrition data on every recipe to verify accuracy. The data for calories, carbs, sodium,...
In order to get buy-in for breakfast in the classroom, there is an incredible amount of planning done with stakeholders to ensure that we can show the value for this and to get their thoughts and see...
We had a small area that sold self-serve yogurt. Sales were great for the first year and then began to slide as most self-serve yogurt shops have done this past year or so.
We held a zero-waste night event at a recent basketball game. The goal was to bring environmental awareness to the arena while diverting 90% of waste from landfills to recycling bins and composters.
We have increased revenue from guest trays to nearly $11,000 a month since we set up a system to allow patients and their visitors to buy trays using a credit card.
In the elementary schools our participation has dropped the last few semesters due to the changing USDA regulations. In order to draw up more interest, as well as business, we not only sell second...
We have started making flavored butters to go with our plated events. Just as wine flavors go with specific meats, so do our butters. We serve sage and thyme butter with chicken dishes, “cowboy”...

Cover story

About two years ago, a Boston University (BU) student who was studying abroad tweeted that she missed the cookies from one of our dining halls.
This month we present our fourth annual list of 10 ideas to provide a jump-start for innovation in your operation.
Gorham: The Arbor Co., operators of senior living units based in Atlanta, hired us last year as consultants to come up with a solution for residents who have chewing or cognitive disorders and cannot...
The Centra Nutrition Group recently launched our very own food truck, called Code Fresh. The truck serves a few roles.
We were looking for something for our smaller sites, the ones that are too big to be supported by traditional vending but not large enough to support a café without a very substantial investment.
Earlier this year we piloted a build-your-own-burrito concept called Chef Doug’s Burrito. Doug is for Douglas County. We launched it at Thunder Ridge High School and then moved it onto another school.
When we combined the food and nutrition services departments back in December 2013 and I assumed leadership over foodservices, I was able to use my experience as an R.D. to begin offering more...
We had an old pizza station that we wanted to convert, but we had to try to figure out how to do the next big thing without the capital dollars to do anything big.
We moved into a new 50-floor building in 2012. Devon wanted to be more than just a company located downtown; we wanted to be a community member, and this new building helped us accomplish that.
Cornell Dining senior management, including myself, participated in a five-day challenge to eat at campus facilities while following one of six specific dietary restrictions: vegetarian, vegan, dairy...
The students in high school have such a long day and so many of them participate in after-school activities and a lot of them eat lunch starting at 10 a.m.

Menu Strategies

One of the biggest upsides to starting a food truck is you can get food to places it’s often difficult to reach with a brick-and-mortar location.
Three Takes On offers several different versions of the same classic dish. This month, we scoped out three unique baked beans recipes, including 5 Way Baked Beans, Plant-based Southwestern Baked...
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.


Served as an accompaniment to a ground turkey burger, this refreshing whole-grain salad is one of many healthy varieties offered at Lake Erie College.
Fruit might be sweet, but it’s also right at home in savory dishes, where it offers depth of flavor plus beneficial fiber and antioxidants for relatively few calories. Here’s how operators are...
Chocolate has long been the domain of desserts, candy and sweet beverages, but cocoa can do more than satisfy your sweet tooth. Operators also are using chocolate to bring an earthiness to a variety...
While the majority of the world’s cacao beans are grown in Africa, Hawaiian production is spiking.
Chocolate is found on 32% of menus and more data from research firm Food Genius.

Under 30

Rebecca has enhanced foodservice by supporting the company at new account openings and mentoring a number of employees.
Ian has made an impact on foodservice by leading by example and demonstrating excitement and enthusiasm in every situation.

What you need to know

In May, Miles McMath, director of culinary operations at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn., made history when he became the first hospital chef to cook at the famous James...
As incorporation of halal-prepared menu items increases along with the Muslim population in the U.S., the member interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Muslims in Dietetics and...

Managing your business

Getting married? Ashland University, in Ohio, wanted to help engaged couples visualize what their wedding celebration could be like, and at the same time promote campus and local wedding services.
Operators looking to make a little extra dough by charging customers for condiments might not be happy with the result.

Emerging Trends

A greenhouse isn’t a new concept. How one Iowa woman is powering her greenhouse is, however. has released its annual list of the top foodie cities in 2014.
It isn’t very often that university students get to eat literature, but at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known as Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Va., they did just that.


John Lindower, foodservice manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, in Columbia, treasures his five children, dreams of an Australian vacation and is sure he once ate dog.
Randy Lait, senior director of hospitality services at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, admires his mother, wishes he were a better typist and would be a now-retired NFL punter if not for his career in foodservice.


Featuring lemon grass, lamb shoulders and pickled carrots, this savory dish is filled with flavor and spices.
Spice up your dessert menu with this simple Strawberry Gelato recipe.
This chocolate-braised brisket is great for grilling and for a dinner menu option. Plus, it pairs well with potatoes and polenta.
“What makes this dish in particular a signature plate for us would be that all of the items, including the noodles, are scratch prepared with all of the recipes being developed in house,” says Joshua Scott, executive chef with Compass Group at Microsoft.
This savory gelato is a great way to spruce up your dessert menu.
Marshmellows aren’t just for campfires. The University of Maryland food truck features this savory dessert made from scratch.
Bring a little Italian into your operation with this Italian Cookies & Cream Gelato recipe.
This recipe features a variety of beans, from edamame to lima beans. This recipe was recently used at a buffet celebrating employee week at Swedish Health Services. This recipe works well for serving large amounts of people and as a side dish for weekly menu items.
This ethnic beverage is simple to make and can be served alcoholic or nonalcoholic.
The grain crust, moistness of the pork and the cranberry mustard are a great combination of sweet and spicy in this pork loin recipe.
This four-ingredient gelato recipe is simple to make and pairs well with other dessert options.
This dish offers a new take on savory and sweet. With bacon pancetta, short ribs and chocolate, this dish provides a perfect flavor balance.
This gelato recipe is a flavorful and refreshing option for dessert menus.
This plant-based recipe doesn’t include any meat, dairy, salt or oil. According to Michael Mooney, manager for epicurean feast at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the plant-based diet is very popular at this B&I location.
Featuring espresso and cocoa powder, this chicken dish is great for any coffee lover and for grilling season.
This pork and salad recipe makes for a great entree dish for any season.
Add more flavors to your gelato selection with this Banana Gelato recipe.
This housemade gelato is a great way to cool off this summer and to add to your dessert menu options.
Snapshots of all the recipes for the July 2014 issue.
Featuring five different types of beans, this recipe pairs well with multiple entrée dishes. Tom Stewart, director of dining at the Florida Institute of Technology, shares that this recipe is one of his favorites at the school. This dish is a hit with students and makes for a flavorful side dish.
This soup recipe is a great menu option for food trucks and dining halls because it’s easy to make and filled with flavor. Plus, it pairs well with housemade beignets.
This five-ingredient gelato recipe is simple and sweet. Plus, it’s a great menu option for any season.
Featuring chocolate chips and coffee, this gluten-free pork loin dish has a balance of sweet and savory.
As part of our ongoing Signature Series, we asked operators to share their unique pork recipes, including soup, salad and carnitas.

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As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
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We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

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Open kitchen concepts satisfy guests’ curiosity and desire for transparency. But there are some caveats. Here’s how to create a positive experience for both staff and customers when the walls are down.

Train to serve

With the back-of-house up front, everybody gets hospitality training. “Our cooks understand the food and what they’re doing incredibly, but translating that to guests requires [soft] skills that need to be honed,” says Marie Petulla, co-owner of two restaurants in Southern California.

Dress for a mess

At Girl & The Goat in Chicago, chef-owner Stephanie...

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