With consumers, especially younger consumers, looking for new and interesting kinds of foods to try, onsite foodservice operators are challenged to come up with concepts that meet that hankering for the unusual while still staying somewhat within the bounds of familiarity.
Which brings us to Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian street food concept that pops up regularly at the Spangler Café action station at the Harvard Business School (HBS), which is operated by HBS’s dining services provider Restaurant Associates (RA).
Lomo Saltado derives from the Chinese cuisine tradition of Peru called chifa and offers customers plenty of customization options with a choice of marinated sirloin strips, chicken or vegetarian protein that is then accompanied by a choice of rice or quinoa and assorted vegetables and toppings, then served with fried potatoes.
The Lomo Saltado concept was created in-house by longtime associate Meriam Escalante and has resonated with Harvard Business School’s international student body and staff.
The concept was created by a beloved longtime RA associate at HBS, Meriam Escalante, explains Dustin Torok, hospitality marketing manager for RA at HBS.
“This is not one of the many culinary innovations that came down from corporate or even our own executive chef, Todd Young,” Torok notes. “It was conceptualized, produced and implemented by an associate who is as passionate about culinary excellence as our very own chefs.”
Lomo Saltado has resonated with an HBS community that is truly a global institution with an enrollment of around 2,000 students, many from other countries, and that’s something that the dining team always keeps in mind.
“With student, faculty and staff coming from all over the world, we strive to create culinary innovations that are not only sophisticated and appeal to the community, but that allow guests to enjoy dishes they otherwise might not be able to find,” Torok says. “Having a diverse staff of our own, we are able to come up with delicious ethnically rounded innovations.”
Lomo Saltado premiered at the Spangler Café last year and was marketed with a combination of café signage, notices on community plasmas, campuswide dining calendars and the university intranet. Following its successful debut, it has been making encore appearances every quarter since and has generated a 25% jump in covers at the station on the days it operates.
“This culinary innovation is unique because it was created in-house,” Torok says. “From the top down RA creates a culture that fosters innovation and creativity. While other organizations have line staff that go to work, put their hours in and then go home, we have a diverse staff that truly love where they work and offer their very own ideas and specialty dishes from their native lands for the community to enjoy.”