Looking the part for noncommercial?

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

By 
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

Ideas and Innovation
food waste

With awareness growing about the scope of food waste in America, foodservice operators are ramping up zero-waste efforts—and coming up with more culinary-focused solutions. It’s estimated that 40% of food produced in the United States is wasted, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Although an increase in composting has redirected some of this food waste from landfills to on-site gardens and farms at a number of operations, noncommercial chefs are re-evaluating food scraps for their menu potential.

University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., has a longstanding...

Ideas and Innovation
daisies

Jehangir Mehta, chef-owner of Graffiti Earth in New York City and an avid food waste crusader, created a soup from food scraps that even has its own hashtag: #eatmycompostsoup. There’s no standard recipe for the item, which he also introduced to the dining program at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Instead, the coconut-based soup features vegetable peels, stems and roots left over from the day’s prep and what Mehta calls “cosmetically challenged” vegetables—ingredients that previously may have found their way into the compost bin.

“Using vegetable scraps and ugly produce in...

Industry News & Opinion
wood-fired pizza

Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Mo., opened its new dining hall with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early July, according to OzarksFirst.com.

The new dining concept was designed with employees in mind. Foodservice directors and designers worked to listen to the employees and used their suggestions in the final design, which includes a more open concept and a broad, bright bank of windows.

“I think that it just sets the mood,” said Amy Partain, director of nutrition and food service at Mercy. “I think that it will be a place that people go to recharge, a place of...

Managing Your Business
cafeteria

Four years after the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) launched for public K-12 schools, school districts around the country are figuring out how to make it work for their districts. The popular CEP program allows schools with a high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch to offer meals to all students enrolled there at no charge.

Now some districts, after testing CEP in pilot schools, are expanding the number of schools where the program is offered. Others are pulling back, either because the percentage of eligible families at those schools...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code