Finding time to offer training was unanimously ranked as the most difficult aspect of providing training opportunities for staff. Getting money for training was the most difficult for those in the educational sector, while motivating staff to take advantage of instructional opportunities was the most challenging in LTC/senior living facilities.
The same percentage of operators—70%— have an employee wellness program as those who offer a customer wellness program. Long-term care/senior living operators were the least likely to offer both types of services; 53% don’t have an employee wellness program while 50% do not offer the service for customers.
College operators are significantly more likely than other market segments to use social media to connect with their customers, according to The Big Picture data. Seventy-five percent use Facebook, and 38% say they employ Twitter. FSD spoke to marketing managers for dining services at two universities to find out about their social media strategies.
The retail sales outlook for the year to come is positive, according to the majority of operators surveyed for FARE’s State of Foodservice at Retail, which included those in the colleges and healthcare segments. Even the challenges that lie ahead signify long-term opportunities to improve the overall quality and competitiveness of retail dining.
Even with unemployment running high, foodservice operators aren’t sure if career hunters will want to follow in their footsteps. The key determinant, they say, is how well the industry spotlights the opportunities available today to prospective candidates.
Turnover has remade the six-person custodial staff that cleans Hallmark’s employee dining facilities in Kansas City, Mo., leaving Corporate Services Manager Christine Rankin with a team she regards as ideal. “To a person, they’re fabulous,” she says, pausing, “and they’re all middle-aged.”