Each year at its MenuDirections conference, FoodService Director asks operators to share their greatest ideas in action for our Steal This Idea contest. (The ideas can be related to any aspect of noncommercial foodservice, from menu to workforce.) Here were the top three submitted ideas, as chosen by FSD’s editors.
3. Handwritten birthday greetings
Coming in third was an idea submitted by Emily Hanlin, executive director of food and nutrition services at Cobb County School District in Kennesaw, Ga. Hanlin sends handwritten birthday cards to all of her team members, which she says makes them feel connected and creates a family atmosphere.
2. DIY flavor boost
Second place went to Alec Canup, an area manager for Guckenheimer at the Douglas County Google Data Center in Lithia Springs, Ga. Canup dehydrates leftover produce peels and scraps, then grinds them into powder to mix with salt or sugar, depending on the flavor profile. He adds the mixes to menu items such as roasted or steamed veggies, which adds extra flavor without too much sodium or refined sugar. His flavor blends include lemon and salt, strawberry and sugar, espresso and brown sugar, and dried chili and salt.
1. Smart Snack birthday baskets
The first place idea came from Angela McCrorey, director of food and nutrition services at Lancaster County School District in Lancaster, S.C. When the principals at her district asked parents to stop sending birthday treats to school, she created allergy-friendly and USDA Smart Snack-compliant birthday baskets that parents can purchase from the foodservice department and send directly to students’ classrooms.