Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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40 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • OCTOBER 2018 "We keep a really close eye on the college and university world. That's where our customers, our employees, are coming from," says Freeman. "The Millennials and their very progressive, values-based perceptions of the world — and of food — are driving a lot of our decision-making." To that end, Freeman says ma- jor initiatives at Microsoft are both ingredient- and technology-driven. "We're tuned in to what we call the digital transformation," he says. "We're moving everything to the cloud, using data to do predictive analytics. And we're bringing the customer closer to the food and the source of the food — farm and farmer, producer — through technology, such as Bluetooth beacons and virtual reality. That's one of the huge things that will drive a lot of the changes in the next five years." Microsoft is also bringing its customers closer to the food in more tangible ways. In 2014, the company and its foodservice provider, Compass Group, launched the "Ingredient Revolution," an effort that continues to drive menu planning, sourcing and communica- tion initiatives. It delivers on demands for transparency and satisfy employee interest in not just where food comes from, but how it's grown, who the farmer or producer is, how they oper- ate, and how they process, package and transport the food. Also speaking to important customer values around food is Microsoft's Misfit Produce Rescue, which utilizes prod- ucts that might otherwise have been discarded due to relatively minor blem- ishes. And the company has pioneered hydroponic growing operations that supply several cafes on campus with a variety of greens and herbs. "Seeing the growing towers in the ca- fes is uplifting, and it sends big messages about the freshness and sustainability of the foods that we're serving," Freeman says. "Led in part by what's happening in the college and university segment, we're embracing plant-forward menus in a big way. I think you'll start to see more cor- porate dining programs looking to grow their own produce, and that will drive changes in the design and space needs of cafeteria and cafe operations." So, too, will growing customer concerns about sustainability and broader corporate responsibility, two is- sues Unidine's Vega sees as holding out great opportunities for positive change in corporate dining. "It's about energy-efficient equip- ment, green chemicals, recycling and composting, and drastically cutting food waste. And it's about letting your customers know that your program is built on these types of things," Vega says. "It's about organic food and fair trade coffee and not just about where food comes from, but does it come from a place of quality? Were there Demand is growing among Restaurant Associ- ates' corporate dining clients for small-footprint, retail-style food solutions such as coffee bars and high-quality grab-and-go with self-checkout con- venience. Photo courtesy of Restaurant Associates With available real estate shrinking in many corporate settings, organizations are incorporating smaller, more versatile foodservice options and highlighting grab-and-go. Photo courtesy of Unidine Corporation WORKPLACE HOSPITALITY A New Value Proposition

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