Who are your culinary grads of the future?

That answer and more at MenuDirections 2014 Kickoff Day: Sunday, February 23.

Published in FSD Update

Marketing and Merchandising: Action Stations
Bridget McManus-McCall, corporate executive chef and business development manager, Nestle Professional
Christopher Donato, corporate executive chef, Nestle Professional
Michael Taney, channel sales manager, Nestle Professional

Chef-inspired action stations are a proven way to keep customers excited about your foodservice program…and they can be very cost-effective. Setting up an interactive flatbread station, a soup/noodle station, or a mac and cheese station can maximize cross-utilization of ingredients; you can use the same mis en place for each, such as leftover cooked meats, roasted vegetables and dips.

Action stations are also a way to showcase global flavors; a soup station can change from Latin to Asian to Moroccan with a simple switching out of ingredients and a change in the flavor of the base broth. The presenters gave an overview of what customers are seeking today and how action stations can meet their needs:

  • Few guests are satisfied with healthy fare availability; even though healthy options are provided; they want more options and customization opportunities
  • Customers are more adventurous today and are demanding authenticity
  • Offer fresh ingredients in a customizable way, without added labor or waste
  • Customize stations as farm to table, gluten free and other hot trends
  • Easily offer ethnic dishes through the use of toppings and herbs
  • Easily change offerings to keep guests coming back
  • Offer a base ingredient, such as a soup broth, risotto or pasta, or flatbread—can be hot or cold offering
  • Offer toppings and proteins separately for customers to add to the base ingredient and customize the dish to their liking
  • Call out local produce/ingredients on station menus
  • Alternate between self-serve and manned stations. Either way, they don’t require much in the way of skilled labor
  • Challenge the manufacturers you work with to offer solutions

Attendees then had the opportunity to sample from two customized action stations: a flatbread station offering hummus, grilled vegetables and other toppings and a tortilla soup station offering two base broths (vegetarian and chipotle-black bean) with an array of condiments, such as pico de gallo, chopped scallions, cilantro, tortilla strips and other ingredients.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
pizza oven

Wood-fired ovens take the biggest slice of the pie when it comes to pizza-cooking preference for consumers. Just fewer than half (45%) of consumers say they prefer a pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven compared to other oven cooking methods. Here are the styles of ovens pizza consumers prefer most.

Wood-fired oven 45% Gas oven 13% Electric oven 11% Grilled 4% Coal oven 4% No preference 23%

Source: Technomic 2018 Pizza Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Industry News & Opinion
polystyrene takeout

New York City will immediately start phasing out foodservice operations’ use of polystyrene takeout containers after a judge ruled on Friday against an operator coalition that had sued to overturn such a regulation, Mayor Bill de Blasio said over the weekend.

Unless the measure is blocked again on appeal, the city will commence a public education campaign to smooth the way for the change to other sorts of containers. Operators will be given a six-month grace period to find alternatives before they’ll be subject to sanctions.

The measure was scheduled to take effect last...

Managing Your Business
uber driver

The freelance, independent-contractor labor market known as the gig economy is distinguished by working short-term contracts, or gigs, such as driving for Uber, Lyft or Instacart.

The majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by 2027, according to a study called “Freelancing in America: 2017,” conducted by Edelman Intelligence. The annual study, commissioned in partnership by the Freelancers Union and Upwork Global, estimates that 36% of the U.S. workforce consists of freelancers who contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually—an increase of almost 30% over the...

Industry News & Opinion

Sturgeon Bay Schools in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has partnered with a local farm to construct a school greenhouse , Green Bay Press Gazette reports.

Construction will begin soon, and the district says that the project is already 75% funded. Once the building is finished, students will be able to grow their own food at the greenhouse and then learn how to preserve it through canning and other methods.

“The greenhouse will provide students with the opportunity to grow food, sample food they have cultivated, design planting plans, tend seedlings, integrate real-life technology in...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code