FoodService Director | September 2011

The Big Idea: It's often not just small ideas that are worth stealing. FSD brings you a "supersized" Steal This Idea section for those ideas are too big to ignore.

Exotic grains are undergoing a kind of renaissance due to their healthy qualities and versatility. Also called heirlooms, these nutrition-packed grains—amaranth, teff, quinoa, spelt, millet...

FSD of the Month

Like a lot of teenagers, Brad Lange took a job working in a restaurant as a dishwasher. After a stint in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, Lange found himself without a paycheck. “I...

Research

B&I revenue decreased by 7% and 60% expect their sales to remain flat or decrease in the coming year, according to respondents to the 2011 B&I Census Report.

Operations

Faced with constant requests for more vegetarian fare, the dining department at 36,000-student University of North Texas opened an all-vegan dining hall this fall. Ken Botts, special projects manager...

Steal this idea

We created a team of student brand ambassadors who will be solely in charge of increasing brand awareness of eating at State. They will be responsible for setting up tables to talk about dining plans...
I use Glo Germ, a product that glows under a black light. I have one person put on lotion and another put on the powder. They shake hands and touch things and it gives a visual of how germs spread...
I just hired a new staff member who will concentrate on interpersonal skills. Employee relation problems are starting to take a large amount of our supervisor’s time, and we hope that this...
We changed our dining halls’ weekend dinners to a rotation of themed dinners. We now offer themes such as a Chipotle and Olive Garden-style meals. It gives our students the option of &...
I do a Trayline from Hell training scenario. During the training the staff are now students and they go through the trayline with a trainer and a couple of other directors operating the line. The...
We offer a Sweet concept, which is located inside our sub concept, that offers our sweet items direct from our Bake Shop at discounted prices. Customers can order cakes, pies, cupcakes, petit fours...
I have used rallies to motivate employees. I read a motivational quote and give out rally cards with that quote. I also read Caught You Caring cards that employees have written about other employees...
We held a competition called “Battle Royale,” where we divided our staff into two competing teams who then had to create two “pop-up” restaurants at either end...
We have a Wellness Entrée every day. It includes a smaller portion of a lean protein, a whole-grain starch and steamed vegetables with a bottle of water. This is available to our employees...
We launched a program called Frugal Fridays, where each Friday during the semester a coupon is posted on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Students are able to stop by the designated dining...
During our weeklong student supervisor training we hold a trivia game based on what the students have learned during the week. We use PowerPoint to display the questions and answers, and the students...
We have leadership book clubs for our food service managers. We have selected books such as “Raving Fans” about customer service and “Eat that Frog!” about...

Cover story

Steal This Idea has consistently been the most popular feature in FoodService Director. But not every idea we receive is small enough to be contained in a box. On the following pages we offer 10...

Menu Strategies

Hot soup, with its low food cost and high profit margin, is a liquid asset for many non-commercial operations, according to directors. Soup attracts consumer attention and creates considerable sales...

Under 30

For the past three years, Eric Haney has been working for Cal Dining, where he started as a sous chef and quickly worked his way up to become the executive chef at the Foothill Dining Commons, says Mike Laux, assistant director of administration services.
Jenna Kaczmarski, R.D, has chaired the local wellness policy committee and served on the Florida School Nutrition Association’s nutrition committee, says Marcia Smith, food service director of Polk County (Fla.) Schools. Kaczmarski is also responsib

Confessions

Cavin Sullivan, general manager for Metz Culinary Management at The J.M. Smucker Co., in Orrville, Ohio, wishes he were taller, loves a good steak with fresh-cut fries and swears by Great Lakes beer.

Recipes

Five Questions

In May, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) launched the Healthy Food Hospitals campaign as a voluntary commitment made by hospitals to improve the healthfulness of the foods...

Retail Experience

Coffee shops on college campuses are now a well-known entity. The aesthetics are usually of the Starbucks-inspired variety—warm colors, comfy seating and dim lighting. Not the case with 12,...

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

FSD Resources