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:
- District hires high schoolers to staff cafeterias
Perry Township Schools in Indiana recently hosted a hiring fair to fill in around 25 child-nutrition positions and hired nearly a dozen high school students to help staff their cafeterias in the 2021-2022 school year—the “first time that we’ve hired students," said Erin Coleman, the director of child nutrition and food services. “The type of students that work for us, not many of them would leave during the day to go work jobs, so we thought, ‘Hey, what a better way for them to get involved? They can work for us. They can gain that professional experience and having set hours.’ So it was a great opportunity for both us and our students to utilize our expertise together.”
- Study shows drop in teen junk food consumption during COVID
A study of 452 teens presented at the recent annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in Georgia found that after COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, there was a nearly 6% drop in their average consumption of ultra-processed food such as energy drinks, potato chips, sugary sodas and candy, and it continued to decline even as social distancing restrictions later eased. While such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal, its is nevertheless a positive sign, said lead researcher Maria Balhara of Broward College in Florida. "The early findings of this study provide an encouraging signal and a window of opportunity for strengthening nutritional and behavioral programs aimed at curbing the obesity epidemic," she stated.
- Colorado’s Jeffco district to close schools due to enrollment drop
The national drop in public K-12 school enrollment is causing some drastic measures by districts. For instance, Jefferson County (Jeffco) Public Schools in Colorado has proposed a plan to close multiple elementary schools in the district due to low enrollment levels: the district has the capacity to serve 96,000 students in its traditional schools but currently has only 69,000 enrolled and expects that to decline to 66,000 by next year. Well over half (58%) of Jeffco's 49 elementary schools have less than 250 students enrolled, resulting in a combined total of more than 10,600 empty seats.
- UC San Diego sees influx of alumni opening campus restaurants
The UC San Diego campus has seen an influx of alumni enter partnerships to open restaurants in its newly constructed Sixth College within the past year. It began with last summer’s opening of Blue Bowl, a “superfood cafe that is more than an acai bowl,” according to co-founder Craig Edelman; it was followed by Chinese/American fusion concept Fan Fan this past April and will continue with the expected opening this summer of Tahini, a fast, casual, Middle Eastern concept with menu items like chicken shawarma, in-house prepared falafel, and six different sauce combinations.
- Delaware North reports on trends affecting travel and hospitality
A report commissioned by FM Top 50 firm Delaware North reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed new technological, business and social forces and explores how emerging technologies might forever alter hospitality and travel businesses. Among its predictions is that the Work from Anywhere trend will change the travel industry as freedom to work from anywhere creates freedom elsewhere in people’s lives, including where they live and how much of their time they can spend travelling. Also, it notes that the growing gig economy—using short-term contract and freelance workers as opposed to permanent employees—has pulled workers away from lower-level jobs in the hospitality industry and is a key reason they are not returning.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]