- Published: July 16, 2018
- Written by Amelia Levin, Contributing Editor
Spotlights the challenges and opportunities that impact the application of foodservice equipment and supplies in the real world including green and energy efficiency concerns, foodservice equipment concerns, the impact of technology on foodservice, and the state of the foodservice economy.
What’s new in college and university foodservice catering? A lot, as it turns out.
The kitchen is a hot spot on university campuses across the nation — as well as in corporations, retirement centers, hospitals, food halls and other public spaces. And we’re not talking the familiar behind-the-scenes, back-of-the-house commercial kitchen where chefs and cooks do their thing. Rather, these emerging hot spots are kitchens designed and built as teaching facilities, where education, engagement and community building around food are primary objectives.
Students living in Alumni Quad residence hall at the University at Albany in Albany, N.Y., enjoy the benefit of eating in the university’s most recently renovated dining hall. “We had an all-you-care-to-eat dining program with a service line, but it wasn’t working,” says Stephen Pearse, executive director, University Auxiliary Services. “Students who live at this downtown campus location are transient, attending classes uptown, and their traffic patterns were inconsistent. We couldn’t keep them satisfied.”
For foodservice operators considering entering a space previously occupied by another restaurant, veteran service agent John Schwindt offers a few pointers on evaluating existing infrastructure items such as hoods, grease traps and walk-ins.
Wood-fired cooking is hot, both literally and figuratively. The cooking method that was once used strictly for pizza now shows up all across the menu, from appetizers to desserts. Placing a wood-fired oven on a cookline visible to diners adds the one-two punch of eye-catching drama and subtle, smoky flavor overtones. Simply adding one piece of equipment could provide chefs with nearly limitless opportunities for menu expansion.
Plant-based diets and the rise of vegetarian concepts may grab the headlines these days, but make no mistake: Americans still love their meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contends that 2018 will be a record year for red meat and poultry consumption, exceeding 222 pounds per person. And NPD Group reports protein tops the list of items consumers say they want more of in their diets. With production up and protein prices down, it’s all good news for foodservice, where burgers, steaks and chops remain cash cows.