MenuDirections 2013: Day Two Highlights

Coming face-to-face with a pig's head adds clarity on FSDs' changing roles

About that pig carving: As attendees sat in obvious enthrallment to the instruction, Gerike sawed up half the half-pig, explaining what parts yield foods ranging from bacon to chops. Ten years ago, who’d have thought a roomful of FSDs would be interested in learning how to make pork cracklins.

If any attendee still believed non-commercial foodservice is all about re-therming hotel trays of supplied food and slopping it into a cafeteria line, they likely thought differently after the conference. One of the popular lunch stations featured Sushi Bob, a kit of sorts for making sushi.

Among the other informational nuggets that were served up today:

  • West Point sells a small entrée-sized serving of pasta for $6.95, a dish that costs the military academy 85 cents to prepare. That’s an 88% margin.
  • As popular as taco salads might be in colleges or B&I settings, the health factor could be broadened by switching to baked taco shells and offering tofu as a protein source.
  • Beef producers are testing new ground beef preparations that meet the USDA’s new school meal regulations, revealed Dave Zino of The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
  • Chocolate milk remains a flashpoint in school feeding, with regulators and parental watchdogs railing against the sugar content and FSDs and even nutritionists countering that healthier milk does nothing for kids if they won’t drink it.
  • If you’re promoting healthier items, use food photos and other graphics instead of words to showcase what you’re offering.
  • Discounts might be even more effective in convincing customers to try healthful fare. Hallmark, a B&I facility in Kanas City, Mo., has trained cashiers to read the language. “We had cashiers tell people, this is how much you saved by choosing healthy items,” explained FSD Christine Rankin.

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