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.
Big ideas are the order of the day at UMass Amherst Dining Services. How big? Within the past two years, the department twice propelled the University of Massachusetts flagship campus into the Guinness Book of World Records by producing both the world's largest sushi roll and a record-setting 4,010-pound stir fry. The school hosts the largest campus foodservice event in the nation with its annual Taste of UMass, which this year featured 70 food booths, entertainment, celebrity guest appearances, an "Ultimate Cupcake War", and UMass Idol and Dance Dance Revolution contests.
Demand for vegetarian and vegan items on campus continues to rise and most colleges and universities now incorporate a variety of meatless meal options into their menus. But the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton has taken one big Texas-sized step further: Last fall, it opened Mean Greens, a dedicated vegan dining hall thought to be the first of its kind in the nation at a large public university.
From its broad sustainability initiatives to its designated peanut-sensitive dining hall, from its kosher meals to halal meat alternatives, and from its partnerships with celebrity chefs and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to its strong commitment to local and organic foods (40 percent of purchases), Stanford Dining has for many years and on many levels been on the cutting edge of campus feeding. Its new Arrillaga Family Dining Commons and Performance Dining program, however, take Stanford's knack for setting trends to new levels.
Referred to by students and staff alike as the cement bunker, the once state-of-the-art Gordon Commons dining hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus was clearly past its prime. Built in 1965 to serve as the primary dining facility for some 3,000 students housed in nearby residence halls, as well as the school's central commissary, Gordon was stodgy, old school and out of step with the UW's progressive, competitive flagship Big Ten campus atmosphere. Despite efforts over the years to keep up appearances, it was campus foodservice at its most stereotypical.
Located in picturesque Burlington, the University of Vermont (UVM) is a leader on many sustainability fronts: One of the first universities to end the sale of bottled water, UVM's Sodexo-operated dining program also touts extensive pre- and post-consumer recycling, trayless dining, composting of food scraps, a student-run organic garden, steadily increasing purchases of locally produced "real" foods, sustainable seafood, biodegradable disposables and a partnership that recycles nearly 200 gallons of used fryer oil into biofuel each month. In early 2011, the school added another important element to its sustainability program: Eco-Ware, a reusable takeout container initiative that, after extensive pilot testing, appears to be taking hold.
It's not uncommon to see more consultants linking up these days, be it a casual partnership between a management advisory services (MAS) specialist and kitchen designer or full-blown merger combining both. Whereas in years past consultants — and all of us in the industry — may have kept more to ourselves, times are changing; many see forming partnerships as an opportunity to expand their services, segments, and reach.
Under pressure to contain costs and increase accountability, healthcare foodservice providers are focusing on improving patient and retail customer satisfaction. Innovative solutions to gargantuan challenges are appearing in operations nationwide.
A responsive, efficient room service program is bringing compliments from patients, staff and visitors and changing their perception of what patient foodservice can offer.
Looking to distinguish their operations from the competition, many healthcare facilities continue to create foodservice environments that can serve as a difference maker in the eyes of the public. As such, many healthcare operators continue to incorporate sophisticated serveries, patient-focused room-service programs and, in some cases, high-end restaurants that can compete with local eateries.
A rebranded food and nutrition department features the state-of-the-art, multiplatform WILDFLOWER café and room service by WILDFLOWER which offers patients a restaurant-style, on-demand food delivery system.
Ice machines are a paradoxical bunch. They can be the forgotten workhorse in a kitchen and often come in last on equipment purchasing priorities. But at the same time, they open up incredible opportunities for total-kitchen energy savings because of their improved efficiencies.