6 ways noncommercial foodservice will change in 2017


Technomic's foodservice specialists invited the editors of FoodService Director to participate in this year's brainstorm of what the noncommercial market can expect in the 12 months ahead. Here are the 2017 forecasts from that first-ever collaboration.

1. New sorts of local partnerships

local produce

Foodservice directors’ early forays into the local movement involved teaming up with farmers to source fresh ingredients. Now, FSDs are finding new avenues to capitalize on the trend. Expect to see more advantageous partnerships with local chefs, restaurant concepts and nonprofits over the coming year, particularly in the healthcare and college and university segments.

2. Native American cuisine

Chefs descended from Native American tribes in the Upper Midwest, Great Plains and Southwest are leading the charge to revitalize the foods of their ancestors, adapting ingredients such as chokeberries, bison and heirloom varieties of squash and beans to 21st century menus. College dining programs, with their diverse customer base and focus on ethnic authenticity, are a natural fit for this emerging cuisine.

3. New Age vending

hand pad vending machine

Demand for 24/7 foodservice and better quality fare paired with escalating labor expenses and staffing challenges are giving way to modern vending solutions. Gone are the candy vending machines of yesterday. Instead, we’ll see more noncommercial vending machines dispense freshly made juices, burritos, salads and even pizza slices.

4. Labor shortcuts

cut fruits veggies

Rising labor costs and shortages are generating more demand for value-added products and streamlined service formats that reduce staffing needs. Look for more investment in already-prepped ingredients like precut and prewashed veggies and precooked grains that don’t skimp on taste, as well as do-it-yourself stations that allow guests to personalize their foodservice experience.

5. Onboarding Gen Z

teen youtube

Foodservice directors are retooling all aspects of the hiring process to adapt to the distinct communication habits and workplace expectations of younger staff. Modernization efforts include recruiting strategies that emphasize competency over tasking, as well as integrating technology intrinsic to Gen Z—YouTube, mobile app videos, etc.—into the training process.

6. Generational disruption

millennials business meeting

As members of Gen Z join millennials at college, millennials take up a larger chunk of the workforce than Gen X, and baby boomers step into senior living for the first time, FSDs are struggling to juggle sometimes conflicting tastes and preferences within their operations. Meeting the needs of multiple generations means reaching for flexible options, taste-testing new menu items and having important conversations with diners about what they need and want.

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