Cleveland (August 6, 2010)— Penton Media’s Food Management® magazine has announced the winners of its 2010 “Best Concept” awards competition. The annual program recognizes exceptional achievement and innovation in key areas of noncommercial foodservice, as judged by the FM editorial staff.
Categories range from initiatives in new and renovated foodservice facility design to menu innovation, wellness initiatives, special event planning and convenience retailing. The awards will be featured in a special editorial section of the August issue of Food Management and will be presented during the awards banquet at the magazine’s annual IDEAS Conference on October 26-28 at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.
The top honor for “Best of Show” in 2010 was awarded to the Microsoft Corp. and its senior manager of employee services, Mark Freeman. The “Best of Show” award recognizes the premier employee dining program offered by the company and the efforts Freeman and his Eurest-contracted team have made in all of the specific areas recognized by the FM Best Concept competition, from menu development and facility renovation to station concept development and convenience retailing.
Individual category winners from the FM awards program are as follows:
Best of Show
Microsoft Corporation: for overall excellence in a business dining program and in making it a core part of a company’s culture and employee campus services.
Best New Facility
Northeastern University’s International Village. The International Village is a cutting edge outlet that takes advantage of customer expectations for varied, interesting, high-quality and sustainable menu choices. It also has served to elevate the campus dining program at Northeastern to an entirely new level from where it was previously, with new facilities that represent state of the art design and which elevate the role of foodservice in the campus community and culture.
University of Oklahoma’s Couch Restaurants. A dining hall likened by students for years as reminding them of an “airport lounge” was transformed over last summer into a multi-faceted restaurant environment that features solidly thought out house brands, the country’s only Chick-fil-A in an all-you-care-to-eat facility, highly efficient operational flow and a community center ambience that illustrates an expert blend of the residential dining and retail experience that is the core of today’s best campus dining operations.
Best Service Concept
Miami University’s use of barcode technology in its self-serve checkout operations at Dividends. Dividends, a convenience dining operation that dominates the entrance to the school’s new Farmer School of Business offers contemporary meals, customized to diners’ preferences, but was designed to move customers along quickly and efficiently in high traffic peak periods. One of the most notable features of the operation is its use of a single bar code label on each meal that contains all of the point of sale data needed for tracking purposes and which also enables each customer to check themselves through a cashier line with a single scan and swipe of a debit card. This is a state of the art application of technology that allows 75-80 percent of all meals sold to be checked out through its U-scan terminals.
Best Management Company Corporate Concept
Sodexo Healthcare’s “Fresh Inspirations” program. Fresh Inspirations is an excellent example of a foodservice management company using its corporate resources to develop a program that uses in-depth market research and taps industry best practices to design a program flexible enough to be implemented in different kinds of host locations. Fresh Inspirations takes a holistic approach, matching a retail foodservice strategy to the care-giving environment. It recognizes that staff, family and visitors all have roles to play in the healing process and that “working in or visiting a hospital is a stressful situation…and that dining is an integral part of the care-giver’s well-being.”
Best Wellness Initiative
Texas Children’s Hospital’s “Beanie Club” program. Texas Children’s Hospital’s “Beanie” program is designed to educate young patients about the importance of nutrition to their health. Well executed and adapted to the hospital’s customer base, the program helps young patients and their families choose healthier menu alternatives. FM editors felt it was especially appropriate in a juvenile acute care setting, where many patients have serious illnesses and extended stays, and situations where nutrition education can support other therapies.
Spokane Public Schools’ “Whole Grain Hero” program. Nutrition education is an important part of most school nutrition programs and this long-term promotional program could serve as a model for many districts that want to extend a school meal nutrition message and impact beyond the lunchroom, to kids’ home lives and home meals. It incents students to choose whole grain meal items both in the cafeteria and at home with a point-based school contest.
Best Menu Concept
Restaurant Associates at the World Bank. RA’s World Bank menu is a high quality and authentic mix of dishes and cuisines that reflects the institution’s highly diverse and sophisticated customer base. While many onsite operations offer ethnic and cultural menu diversity, the World Bank’s program raises the bar and takes this idea to a high and well-executed level.
Best Special Event
Virginia Tech’s “Seasons of Change” banquet. When Virginia Tech’s dining department was given the opportunity to cater a high profile event that had always been outsourced to commercial caterers in the past, it responded with a demonstration of its culinary and catering expertise that only enhanced its already widely acknowledged foodservice reputation. The Seasons of Change menu it designed for the occasion was interesting, demanding, flawlessly prepared and theme-specific, incorporating all of the best practices to make an unforgettable special foodservice event.
Best Social Media Application
Ohio University Dining Services for its innovative use of Twitter and other social media. Many onsite dining departments and their institutions are looking for ways to leverage the power of social media platforms today. OU’s initiatives not only embrace obvious applications (like communicating and promoting menus and specials) but also employ Twitter’s interactivity to communicate directly with customers rather than as a simple, one-sided promotional medium.
Best Convenience Retailing Concept
Yale University’s “UnCommon” c-store. In the heart of one of the most tradition bound campuses and buildings in higher education, its dining department re-deployed what had been a manager’s office in the entrance alcove of its Commons dining hall, making it into a highly tasteful—and highly trafficked—convenience store that is well positioned to serve its undergraduate customers’ retail needs. Effective use of small footprint, careful selection of its sku mix and attractive design to integrate a convenience option into a traditional architectural space make the Uncommon store an exceptional example of high-class campus convenience retailing.
Best Station Concept
University of Delaware/Aramark for “Le Mac.” It was a simple idea: take one of the most popular comfort foods on any college campus and build an entire station’s menu around variations of it. Working with University of Delaware staff, Aramark developed “Le Mac,” a station that offers ten wide-ranging variations of Mac ‘n Cheese. FM editors saw it as a good example of a contract company developing a client-specific station concept that could easily be migrated to many other campus environments.
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Food Management’s editors base their award decisions on a variety of factors, ranging from the impact of a given program, its effectiveness in achieving targeted results, the impact it may have on others in the field and the level of innovation it represents when considered in light of standard practices in a given noncommercial segment of the foodservice industry.
Nominations are solicited from the industry over the course of the preceding year and are also made by the magazine’s editors. The winning concepts are the result of team efforts, and team members are cited individually in the special Best Concepts editorial package that appears in the August issue of Food Management and on its website, food-management.com
The awards are presented to winners at the magazine’s annual IDEAS Conference, which will be held in Chicago later this year on October 26-28.
For more information on the Best Concepts awards program, contact John Lawn, editor-in-chief of the magazine at (216) 931-9620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the FM IDEAS Conference, contact Lauren Carroll, conference director, at (216) 931-9714, or email email@example.com.
Food Management,published by Penton Media, Inc., is the leading business publication for foodservice directors, managers, contract management executives and others in the non-commercial or “onsite” segments of the foodservice industry. Its readers oversee foodservice operations in colleges and universities, business dining, healthcare, K-12 schools, museums, sports and entertainment venues and similar operations.
Penton Media, Inc. is the largest independent business-to-business media company in the U.S., serving more than six million business professionals every month. The company's market-leading brands are focused on 30 industries and include 113 trade magazines, 145 Web sites, 150 industry trade shows and conferences, and more than 500 information data products. Headquartered in New York City, the privately held company is owned by MidOcean Partners and U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co., LP, and its co-investors. For additional information on the company and its businesses, visit www.penton.com.