The Big Picture

A comprehensive, data-driven overview of the non-commercial foodservice industry
Most operators (63%) believe that there are more culinary school graduates seeking employment in non-commercial foodservice than there were five years ago. The highest percentage of operators who feel this way (78%) is in B&I.
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.
The average foodservice employee in the non-commercial industry is female, Caucasian (non-Hispanic) and isn't unionized. Our employee profile also looks at specialized staffing, age breakdowns and full versus part-time staff...
Overall, many staffs have remained the same size for the past two years, with 46% of respondents to The Big Picture research reporting this. More operators in every market segment—with the exception of colleges—report that their staffs had remained constant in size.
Demand for freshness is spurring foodservices of all types to consider more scratch cooking in the morning, but school cafeterias are finding that quest tougher to pursue when they start serving breakfast in the classroom.
Fruit, healthy proteins and yogurts/parfaits are on the rise for breakfast menus in the next two years, according to research from The Big Picture. For most operators, the predicted increase in these categories is due to providing healthier options for customers.
Breakfast, it would appear, is considered to be an important meal by most people—except for college students. At many universities students continue to eschew the morning meal, at least in campus foodservice outlets, while in other segments breakfast continues to enjoy healthy, even growing, participation.
Operators don’t agree when it comes to incentivizing healthful selections. Forty-four percent of B&I operators offer some kind of healthy-option incentive, which is significantly higher than all other segments and almost 20 percentage points higher than the next closest segment, hospitals with 25%. College operators (38%), however, don’t feel it’s necessary to incentivize healthful purchasing...
Operators have employed many tactics to make their menus healthier. Increasing fruits and vegetables and whole-grain offerings are the most frequently used strategies.
When Michele Wilbur, R.D., joined the staff of Cornell Dining four years ago, gluten-free options were something specially prepared for the rare student who’d been diagnosed with celiac disease.

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