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19 onsite food service innovations born from the coronavirus crisis

From take-home meals to live streaming cooking demos, these operators have found ways to be creative during the pandemic.

The food service operators in schools, college, healthcare and B&I are no strangers to getting creative. From budget constraints to government regulations, picky eaters and time-constrained diners, these food service directors and chefs have always found innovative ways to service their clients high-quality meals in a variety of formats.

That creative effort was only amplified when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the United States this spring. Suddenly, schools were serving students at home; colleges were feeding quarantined students; and hospitals were serving highly contagious and sick patients who had the virus.

Through challenges comes innovation, and onsite food service directors delivered. In the following gallery, you’ll see 19 examples of operations that added services, amenities and programs to continue serving their communities. The ideas range from live streaming cooking demos to senior living residents who are stuck in their quarters to a preorder home delivery program for a district’s students and families. Other ideas are automated food lockers where college students can pick up food and pop-up outdoor events at a hospital. We also encountered ideas on how to improve the health and safety not only of food service employees themselves but also customers.

We hope these ideas spark some innovation for your programs. If you have an idea to share, let Food Management know by emailing me at [email protected].

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