Breakfast business—cooking from scratch

For schools, this proves challenging.

Demand for freshness is spurring foodservices of all types to consider more scratch cooking in the morning, but school cafeterias are finding that quest tougher to pursue when they start serving breakfast in the classroom.

In part, “it’s a volume thing,” explains Dan Witt, supervisor of food services for Pueblo County (Colo.) School District 70. He’s already seen his breakfast volume increase five-fold, to 300 morning meals, since he implemented classroom service. With that big of a jump in a small time period, Witt says it’s hard to keep up with demand and cook items from scratch.

Add in the need for portability and variety, and scratch cooking suddenly becomes much more difficult, especially with the labor costs involved.

“I always look for ways I can do scratch cooking, but it’s not always feasible,” says Witt.

So, he says, his district prepares a breakfast burrito from scratch but buys packaged items such as waffles and mini pancakes. For complex dishes like biscuits and gravy, “it’s pretty much half and half,” he says; the gravy is rehydrated from a powder, but other elements are cooked from scratch.

“If there’s something I can do from scratch, I will,” he adds.

Using prepared items is a little easier for Witt because he finds more high-quality and healthful options are available today from suppliers. “They’re moving in the right direction,” he comments.

Still, some customers want to see their breakfasts made right then from scratch, even if they can get the same thing in a prepackaged form, says Melodie Strickland, cafeteria manager for the World Dining-managed foodservice of the Honeywell plant in Rocky Mount, S.C. “[Customers] tell us, ‘I want my eggs scrambled for me. I don’t want to have them already put together,’” she explains. “It’s the same thing, but they want it made fresh.”

That’s a challenge when breakfast service extends to breaks and a new wave of employees floods the cafeteria every 10 minutes to grab something and get back to work within a short time frame. Strickland tries to meet that demand without waste by cooking eggs every five minutes for grab-and-go sandwiches. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources