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.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
elderly old hands

A family’s request for at-home meal support for a patient at Lee Memorial in Fort Myers, Fla., led System Director of Food & Nutrition Services Larry Altier to uncover a gap in care. He saw that only 1% of patients had been coded (diagnosed and labeled for billing purposes) as malnourished, while more than 60% of all Lee Memorial patients are over 65 years or older, a population that experiences the issue at a higher rate.

His discovery helped more rigorously identify malnutrition, but it also strengthened Lee Memorial’s community connection. The hospital launched a delivery...

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

Managing Your Business
studient orientation

When an alma mater and an employer are one in the same, it can be a win-win for both the employee and the school. Here’s how two students’ experiences with campus dining—one positive and the other negative—led them on a path to their current jobs.

A Feast to Remember

NC State University’s main campus in Raleigh, N.C. was built on farmland given to the state by Richard Stanhope Pullen; every spring, students gather to celebrate those agricultural roots through Farm Feast, an outdoor celebration with food and music. Design major Christin King remembers her first Farm Feast vividly: “...

Ideas and Innovation
nutrition facts label

Despite operators’ attempts to communicate nutrition information to guests via cards and labels on the food line, many guests still feel they have no clue what’s in their food. University of Illinois food economist Brenna Ellison shares a few guesses as to why consumers ignore these signs following a recent study on their placement in dining halls.

Q: Who is most likely to read the cards?

A: Students who were already exhibiting more healthy behaviors. So those were the students who track their intake using an app or a food diary. After the first week, we found the rates of people...

FSD Resources