Skip navigation
5 Things
exotic-animal.jpg Jami Tarris / Stone / Getty Images

5 things: Excess produce goes to feed exotic animals at Texas A&M

This and a survey showing the benefits of free workplace food on employee satisfaction are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Excess produce goes to feed exotic animals at Texas A&M

In an effort to better deal with food waste, Texas A&M University (TAMU) Dining Services and management company Chartwells Higher Ed, are donating excess produce from Duncan Dining Hall to the TAMU Winnie Carter Wildlife Center in College Station and its exotic animals such as camels, kangaroos, peacocks, tortoises and even carnivores like big cats. The partnership has been in place for just over two weeks now, and the dining hall has already donated 350 gallons of fruit and veggies to the wildlife center.

Read more: Texas A&M's Duncan Dining Hall donates leftover produce to exotic animals

  1. Free food = happier employees, survey finds

According to a new survey by grocery-delivery service Peapod, companies that provide free food have happier employees compared with those who don't. While 56% of full-time employees are "extremely" or "very" happy with their current job, that number jumps to 67% among those who have access to free food, the survey of more than 1,000 full-time office workers found, adding that just 16% of employees said they get free snacks and treats at work. Also, 48% of respondents said that if they were looking for a new job, they would weigh company perks, including availability of snacks, in their decision.

Read more: Study: The key to happiness at work is free snacks

  1. Café offers free vegan meals at USC

The Jubilee Vegan Café at the University of Southern California (USC) Office of Religious and Spiritual Life courtyard is offering free vegan meals every Wednesday from noon to 1:30 p.m., with membership open to all students under the condition that they volunteer at least once a semester to set up and help cook the meals. According to the United University Church’s website, the purpose of Jubilee Vegan Café is to “provide quality vegan food to support vegan students, staff, and faculty,” “promote vegan food and plant-based lifestyle among students, staff, and faculty” and to “educate and promote animal rights.”

Read more: Jubilee Co-op Cafe serves free vegan meals

  1. School district okays $1,000 bonuses for new cafeteria hires

In a sign of the times for many onsite dining programs, the Board of Education for the Forest Hills Public School District in Michigan has approved a $1,000 sign-on bonus for newly hired cleaners and food service workers. The money will be paid in three installments, with $250 after three and six months of employment and the remaining $500 after the first full year.

Read more: Forest Hills Public Schools announces $1,000 sign-on bonuses for custodians, cafeteria staff

  1. Petition asks GW to keep current meal plan

Nearly a thousand people have signed a petition calling on officials to keep George Washington (GW) University’s current meal plan open to all students after this academic year, citing concerns about higher costs and fewer options under the dining system that GW plans to roll out in the fall. The new dining system will require freshmen and sophomores to purchase one of three meal plans and will open three dining halls where students can receive all-you-can-eat meal access with a smaller declining GWorld balance that they can use at local vendors.

Read more: Nearly 1,000 people sign petition to continue offering current dining plan at GW

Bonus: Lunchtime Solutions menu program appeals to all five senses to refine student taste buds

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.