What’s hot at dinner?

Salads and chicken-based entrées to see growth at dinner.

Operators share insights into why certain dinner categories will grow in the next two years.

Salads: Among hospitals, 49% of respondents anticipate that salads and salad bar offerings will grow the most during the dinner daypart. Joy Cantrell, production manager and executive chef at St. Joseph Medical Center, in California, has expanded her operation’s salad offering—and purchases—but not at the salad bar. “We’ve added [to it], just not in a traditional way,” she explains. Cantrell offers signature side salad add-ons at her grill and sandwich stations.

Chicken entrées: Chicken-based hot entrées have the most anticipated growth at dinner among college and universities (41%). Because poultry is a healthier option, Scot Ostrander, food administrator at Northern Illinois University, in DaKalb, finds that “chicken and turkey are very, very, very popular with the students. [We] can do any type of chicken and they’re going to like it.” Although only 11% of colleges reported an expected growth in turkey-based hot entrées, this is a higher growth expectation than the overall non-commercial market, at 8%.

Fish entrées: Among retirement homes and senior living, fish-based entrées are expected to see the most growth at dinner, at 46%. “I could serve fish every day; they love it,” says Nancy Dunton, director of dining and culinary services at Capital Manor Retirement Community, in Oregon. “[Our residents] want to eat more healthy, and they view [fish] as a lean, healthy option,” she notes.

 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
unsung heroes graphic

Febin Bellamy, a senior at Georgetown University, is the founder of Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit that features service workers on college campuses in man-on-the-street-style Facebook interviews. This year, Bellamy is working with a dozen schools to launch their own chapters of the storytelling platform. Here’s what he’s learned about staff shoutouts.

Q: Why did you decide to start Unsung Heroes?

A: One day I started a conversation with a custodial worker in the business school that I would see all the time. I learned that we had a lot of similarities; for instance, we both wanted to...

Ideas and Innovation
bolognese sauce

We’re trying to bring scratch cooking to all the elementary schools, but we’re taking it dish by dish. Right now, we satellite a lot of the dishes out. This month we made a Bolognese from scratch, and went to each of the schools to talk to them about the process and see if they could implement it. It helps us find out the hurdles and what they are going to need to make it work.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

FSD Resources