Building a better salad bar

Salad bars offer variety, excitement and healthy choices for less.

Published in FSD Update

A salad bar at Texas Tech.

There’s perhaps no easier way to incorporate a large variety of local, seasonal and healthy choices on your menu than with a salad bar. Just ask Chuck Hatfield, director of product development for Sodexo’s Corporate Services Division—his salad bar was ranked by consumers as their favorite café destination. That distinction is no surprise when you consider the plethora of ingredients found on the bar: asparagus, grilled artichokes, heirloom tomatoes, roasted corn and root vegetables, and a variety of grains like farro and quinoa are just a few of the offerings available each day.

Scott Bruhn, executive chef at Iowa State University, in Ames, can relate. He runs four salad bars, each with a standard set of dozens of ingredients. As a rule of thumb, Bruhn recommends 50% veggies and 50% protein and other items like cheese, meat and nuts. “We are committed to offering a large selection because our students need variety in their diets and the ability to be creative,” Bruhn explains. 

Other operators agree. Laurence Shiner, executive chef for Sodexo Campus Services at Western Illinois University’s Corbin-Olson Dining Center, in Macomb, offers 40-plus fresh ingredients on his salad bar, in addition to grilled proteins like Cajun shrimp and steak. Peter Testory, assistant director of support and culinary operations at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, rotates in as many local products as he can on his salad bar, while John S. Pelton, foodservice director and executive chef at River Region Medical Center, in Mississippi, serves housemade ranch dressing on his bar alongside low-fat premade options. And Drew Latham, chef at Texas Tech’s The Commons, in Lubbock, has upped the salad bar ante with a self-serve guacamole bar complete with red and green salsa, roasted corn salsa, pico de gallo, limes, cilantro and onions.

More From FoodService Director

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...

Ideas and Innovation
plastic cutlery

At St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., protecting the environment and supporting the health and well-being of its employees and communities go hand in hand. FoodService Director spoke to Kevin Krueger, procurement and sustainability manager for the hospital, to learn about the strategies it employs to carry out that mission.

Q: What strategies have you put in place to help meet your diners’ expectations around sustainability?

A: One of the first projects I took on when I started here was removing products made of expanded polystyrene from our retail operation, which was...

Ideas and Innovation
fresh lettuce

High school students in the School District of West Salem in West Salem, Wis., have access to fresh lettuce at their garden bars and in premade salads at lunch through the district’s aquaponics garden, which will be expanded to include herb towers this fall.

This spring, the district is also broadening its sustainable and local sourcing efforts by planting 55 apple trees as part of the district’s new “food forest.” Director of Nutrition Services Kerri Feyen says the district stayed away from a traditional school garden or farm due to the central Wisconsin climate the district is...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code