OPERATOR: MANOR CARE HEALTH SERVICES
CONCEPT: THICK POP
THE BIG IDEA: A simple but effective menu item, Manor's Thick Pops are simply frozen thickened liquids that are served as “popsicles” to residents who are on a thickened liquid diet. The idea allows Manor Care to offer additional hydration to such residents at no additional cost.
OPERATOR: COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
ENTRY: BRAIDEN HALL DINING CENTER
THE BIG IDEA: Braiden Hall received a $3.8 million renovation that turned it into one of the “greenest” dining venues in the college/university segment. More than just energy-efficient and made from recycled materials, it is also colorful, inviting, convenient and replete with diverse food stations offering a tantalizing variety of menu choices (for more, see the May 2010 FM).
OPERATOR: STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY/ARAMARK
ENTRY: CEREAL EATING CONTEST
THE BIG IDEA: Rather than the usual pigout where oversized males try to outglutton each other, SFA Dining partnered with a supplier on a contest where the food was a universal (and relatively healthy) college student favorite (cereal) and the object was not quantity but speed — contestants were timed on how fast they ate a set amount rather than competing on the amount consumed.
OPERATOR: UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST
THE BIG IDEA: Ketumbar is a menu item that is exotic, healthful, appealing and convenient. Simply put, it is ground beef kefta molded onto bamboo skewers and wrapped into flatbread to make easily handled sandwiches. Only 155 calories per portion and realtively low in food cost and labor, it has become one of the most popular items on the menu, with some 2,000 sold daily.
OPERATOR: SAN DIEGO USD
CONCEPT: SANDI COAST CAFE
THE BIG IDEA: Sandi Coast Cafe operates food carts that serve reimbursable school meals conveniently and efficiently. The key is a network of wireless routers that make electronic POS possible. The carts themselves serve an appealing array of freshly prepared foods like burgers, cooked on portable grills. The $2 million investment is being repaid quickly, with a 59% meal count increase at the 17 school sites in the first month and 65% in the second.
OPERATOR: CURA HOSPITALITY
CONCEPT: CULTURE CHANGE
THE BIG IDEA: Cura took on the major challenge in senior care with this comprehensive program that provides the steps and information needed for a facility to transition its dining and hospitality services from a medical model to an individualized and social model that creates a home-like environment for residents while also improving staff satisfaction at the same time.