Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUN 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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60 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JUNE 2018 functional by design Salad Bars By Dana Tanyeri P erhaps no other menu category has evolved as much as the salad, and that's thanks in part to salad bars. No, not the old-school ice- berg, tomato, cottage cheese and French dressing-style salad bar withering away in a corner, but the vibrant, fresh, appealing and downright dazzling salad bar that takes center stage today and plays a critical role for many operations. And why not? Salads in general and salad bars in particular satisfy some of the most important consumer demands shaping foodservice. Pick just about any buzzword — fresh, healthful, organic, local, seasonal, customizable, fast, convenient, vegan, veg- etarian, paleo, ethnic, specialty — and you'll find a selection of food items that play to it on modern salad bars. Grand dames in the genre such as Sizzler and Ruby Tuesday know well that the power of bountiful, beautiful salad bars can drive sales, and they go to great lengths to keep theirs looking great, performing well and remaining rel- evant. Schools, healthcare facilities, colleges and corporate foodservice venues all tout bountiful self-serve salad bars. Even fast- casual operations are tapping the trend. The sprouting of a whole crop of fast-growing, next-gen, tossed-to-order salad concepts such as Sweetgreen, Just Salad, Salad and Go, Chopt, Freshii, Mixt, Honeygrow and Salata make salads cool, customizable, craveable and convenient. In every case, smart design can signifi- cantly enhance salad bar functionality and profitability. After all, in most instances the salad bar serves as an integral design ele- ment in the front of the house and, given its high-impact visual and operational roles, it demands careful attention to both form and function. "Salad bars have gotten so big. They're no longer just about iceberg, romaine and cherry tomatoes," says Doug Huber, FCSI, CFA, CFSP, principal at Foodser- vice Consultants Studio, Montpelier, Va. "Today, you might have five different types of greens, for example, and any number of exotic and specialty items featured on the bar. There's a lot to consider. And opera- tors have gotten smarter about how they use that real estate. If you can design flex- ibility into the salad bar aesthetic so that it can accommodate different meal periods and think beyond just salad, it can double as a hot food bar, breakfast bar, tapas bar, etc., on an as-needed basis. With some forethought and flexibility built in, the revenue generated per square foot can be significantly increased." Three Design Drivers: Variety, Volume, Speed Well before considering any specific design ideas, Huber recommends first considering three big drivers: variety of ingredients, antic- ipated volume per service period and overall Rectangular salad bars with two duplicate serving lines and plenty of circulation space enhance speed of service. Courtesy of Foodservice Consultants Studio

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