What’s hot at lunch?

Salads and sandwiches to see growth at lunch.

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

Salads: Salads and salad bars is the lunch category that operators expect to grow the most in the next two years, with 44% of operators saying this category will grow. At Central Valley Medical Center, in Utah, Foodservice Director Dorthy Darnell finds that the salad bar is “very popular” among staff and guests. “They’re going towards healthier things,” she explains. To maintain interest, in addition to standard salad bar fare. Darnell also offers a premixed salad every day, such as crab or cold chicken salad.

Sandwiches: Due to convenience, portability and variety, sandwiches, both hot or cold, will continue to be a menu staple: One-third of respondents across segments indicated that cold and hot sandwiches and subs, both made to order and prepackaged, are among the top menu items expected to show the most growth.

Breakfast at lunch: More than any other segment, colleges and universities expect breakfast entrées served at lunch (20%) to increase the most. “Breakfast at lunch is popular because kids still sleep in,” explains Scot Ostrander, food administrator at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb. “Even if they have an early class, they may not have been able to eat before. Come 10 or 11 o’clock, it’s their breakfast time,” he says.

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The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

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