Looking the part for noncommercial?

Hiring staff with tattoos or beards may equal a more creative workforce.

Katie Fanuko, Associate Editor

tattoo chef

Behind the swinging doors of noncommercial kitchens, tattoos don’t draw much contention, which is why at least one operator sees body art as a secret weapon to obtain top talent that otherwise might turn to restaurants.

Although he requires staff to cover all tattoos while interacting with residents, Matt Foxworthy, general manager of foodservices at Bivins Foundation, a senior living and long-term care community in Amarillo, Texas, relaxes the rules in the kitchen. He says this sets his team apart from surrounding senior-living facilities that aren’t as accepting of body art and allows him to draw from a larger creative pool—a concern for 77 percent of operators according to FoodService Director’s 2014 The Big Picture survey.

“When you allow creative people to come in, you’re going to get that creativity throughout your entire facility,” he says. “I think if you want to stay on the growing trends of the food industry, you have to take [tattoos] into consideration.”

Chef coats can be forgiving, allowing for more liberal policies on tattoos. Many organizations, including Aramark and Chartwells, require staff to wear long-sleeve chef coats, which conceal visible tattoos in front of guests. “We have a very diverse audience that we are feeding, and we want to make sure that we are as nonoffensive as possible,” says Mark Petrino, senior associate director of Residential Dining at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., whose self-op follows similar guidelines.

While they might have some wiggle room where tattoos are concerned, often operators aren’t as lenient with piercings and jewelry, which can pose a food-safety issue. Some allow stud earrings, but most other facial piercings or dangling jewelry is not acceptable.

To ensure that bearded employees follow the rules, some operators take disciplinary action when necessary. Employees who don’t wear a guard receive a verbal warning, followed by a written warning for subsequent violations, Petrino says. “We just can’t compromise on food safety,” he says. 

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
management team

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event , held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’...

Ideas and Innovation
song break

Once per month in a daily huddle, we dedicate a few minutes for the staff to sing a short song. The staff has responded so positively to this. They now bring costumes and other props. It's a few short minutes, but the payoff has been tremendous.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code