Dealing with staff

Employee morale and absenteeism are the top personnel issues operators are facing. Schools are the most likely to say they have no employee challenges.

When it comes to human resources challenges, operators say employee morale/motivation is the most difficult aspect, according to The Big Picture research. Absenteeism also ranked high, especially in schools and B&I locations.

B&I

Absenteeism is the biggest personnel issue for B&I operators. Gary Coutre, general manager for Sodexo at Siemens Industry in Buffalo Grove, Ill., says employees are getting more creative with their excuses for calling out of work, saying, for example, “my uniform isn’t clean.” “Foodservice isn’t the most glamorous job and it’s not the most highly paid, so there’s not a whole lot of motivation,” Coutre says. Providing training and opportunities for employees to climb the career ladder are the best motivation Coutre says he can use. Another issue he’s found with absentee personnel is managing short-term employees. “We get good people coming from temp agencies, but you have to spend half your day explaining things to them,” he says. “You can’t put a recipe in front of them and walk away.”

C&U

Providing training opportunities is the most challenging personnel issue for college operators. Eric Barker, catering director for Sodexo at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., says finding time to train his student workforce is difficult. “In higher ed we rely heavily on student labor. Training is often done on the go. Training as you learn is valuable, but at the start of the semester the workforce is not well trained so service quality can be lacking,” he says.

LTC/senior living

Employee morale is by far the biggest problem facing LTC/senior living operators. Suzanne Cryst, R.D., director of nutrition services at Maria Joseph Living Care Center in Dayton, Ohio, says it’s often hard to motivate employees when they don’t understand the importance of their jobs. “It’s very difficult to say, ‘You may work in the dish room, but what you do is vital to the safety of our residents.’ They don’t always understand what their self-worth is.” Cryst says she makes sure to give daily recognition and thanks to her employees. Although she acknowledges that it’s been difficult to give employees pay raises, Cryst says pay often isn’t the No. 1 motivating factor for employees. “It’s the feeling employees get when they come to work,” she says.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In a bid to beef up its presence in sports arenas and a variety of other large venues, Sodexo will acquire foodservice vendor Centerplate for $675 million.

Sodexo says the deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, will more than double its global footprint.

Centerplate, which serves as the foodservice operator for a number for stadiums, convention halls and other event spaces, brought in revenues of $998 million for the year ending June 2017, according to Sodexo. Centerplate was purchased five years ago by Olympus Partners, a private-equity company...

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

FSD Resources