Grab-and-go ideas
worth stealing

Photograph courtesy of Chartwells Higher Ed

As operations across the country turned to grab-and-go fare amid pandemic restrictions, prepared foods weren't the only thing on display—innovation and creativity took a front seat, too. Here's a look at some of the more unique grab-and-go solutions that have been implemented in recent memory.

By FSD Staff

New tactics

Dining teams have been leaning into individually packaged or pre-portioned versions of diner favorites to keep sales afloat while allaying fears around food safety. And that shift looks poised to stay in many spots. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, for example, is beefing up its grab-and-go selection as it looks to the months ahead, with the team "nearly doubling our catalog of rotating salads and sandwiches, and introducing some of our action station items as premade meals," Food Services Manager Lawrence Wright told FSD in June.

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Healthier fare

Diners clung to comfort food early on in the pandemic, but a focus on health and wellness that took hold as the coronavirus spread also led some to examine their food choices and go for items with better-for-you and immunity-boosting ingredients. Forty-one percent of consumers said that the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on them shifting to healthier food options, according to Technomic's most recent Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, which was released in October.

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Self-serve shifts

As self-serve areas like salad bars and beverage stations were sidelined during COVID, operations found fresh uses for these spacing sitting idle, using them to promote upcoming specials, house pop-up markets, display pre-packaged offerings and more.

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Contactless options

Though high-tech, low-touch solutions were already in the works pre-pandemic, the events of recent months and an unusually challenging labor market have only accelerated the presence of technology that minimizes human interaction during foodservice transactions.

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