Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUL 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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JULY 2018 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 21 Here, C&U foodservice directors from around the country provide an update on what's on the menu at schools known for outstanding dining services programs, and what's on the minds of their leaders. Collectively, they and their teams man- age programs that generate more than $209 million in annual revenues. They're award winners, innovators and masters at juggling the unique demands of the C&U dining segment. Read on for insights from Juergen Friese, assistant director of dining services at the University of Colorado Boulder; Rich Neumann, director of culinary services, and Kent Scott, associ- ate director of auxiliaries operations, both at Ohio University; C. Dennis Pierce, executive director of dining services, Univer- sity of Connecticut; and Kirk Rodriguez, managing director of hospitality services at Texas Tech University. FE&S: Let's kick off with what's in. What are the most popular or successful recent additions to your campus dining program? Pierce: We've been making the shift to more plant-based menu options and ingredients and moving away from red meat. In January, we switched from traditional beef burgers to blended burgers (part chuck, part mushroom) campus-wide. It was a controversial move because we don't offer it as an [additional] option; we did a 100 percent change. A small contingency of students was upset but we stuck with our decision for sustainability and health reasons. While it's difficult for some current students to accept the change, it will just be a fact of life for incoming first-year students in the fall, similar to when we went trayless. We also recently completed a $23 million dining hall renovation that includes a fresh juice bar. When we cre- ated the salad bar we added a rounded, refrigerated counter area with bowls underneath. Students can grab a bowl, fill it with their choice of fresh fruits and vegetables from the bar and hand it to the employee behind the counter, where we have five high-speed blenders. They can choose from a variety of apple juice blends, protein powders and other add-ins. The station is open all day and is constantly busy. Another trend here is collaboration between dining services and academic departments. That's come in large part from our participation in the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative. I've been here for 30 years and, prior to the last 2 years, can't remember that I've done any kind of projects that involve working with academic departments. We get a lot from them and they like to use dining services as labs, bringing students in and having them do both culinary and business-oriented projects. Friese: Last January we opened our new Village Center Dining and Community Commons, which features unique microrestaurant concepts — we didn't duplicate any concepts from our existing dining facilities. Among the most popular is Curry Road, a build- your-own curry restaurant. Students love our authentic curry recipes and the ability to customize their own dishes, which they can also do at our made-to- order pho and ramen stations. Another big hit is Colorado Hearth, which offers local, chef-inspired cuisine created with ingredients sourced from within 250 miles of Boulder County. Students love the plated concept (small plates), want to know where their food and ingredients come from, and ap- preciate the opportunity to put a face to the dish that was created for them. An- other concept that's been really popular is the smoothie bar, where customers can choose to blend their own using A popular new feature at UConn's Putnam Dining Hall is the fresh juice/ smoothie station, which is integrated into the salad bar. Students choose their ingredients, add-ins such as protein powders, and employees create the drinks using high-speed blenders behind the bar. At UConn's recently reno- vated McMahon Dining hall, students can choose from a variety of global cuisines that staff prepare to order in display cooking stations. Photos courtesy University of Connecticut Dining Services

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