In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- CDC issues guidance for reopening college campuses
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for colleges as they reopen their campuses. While the guidance does not address when or whether colleges should resume in-person classes, it describes practices colleges can put in place to reduce coronavirus spread and promote a healthy student body and workforce. It also outlines steps they should take to address suspected COVID-19 cases on their campuses.
In regard to campus dining, the agency recommends providing grab-and-go meal options, avoiding buffet or self-serve stations, and using disposable plates and utensils.
Read more: CDC Issues New Guidance to Colleges
- Facebook permanently expanding remote work
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a livestream on his personal page last week that he guesses as much as half of the company’s 45,000-person workforce could be working entirely remotely in the next five to 10 years, reducing the market for onsite dining at its facilities in the process. While Zuckerberg cautioned that the number is not necessarily a target, it’s a tangible estimate by the leader of one of the most important companies in the world about the future of work, impacting not only his company but the norms for post-pandemic office workers as a whole. The move comes shortly after Facebook’s rival Twitter announced it will allow its entire workforce to permanently work remotely, along with other tech companies like Shopify and Coinbase.
In the short term, as Facebook starts reopening its offices (right now, Zuckerberg said 95% of employees are working from home and will do so until at least January 1, 2021), the company will operate at 25% capacity in its buildings.
The company is also going to “aggressively” start hiring remote employees since they won’t be as tied to physical office space and it’s rethinking how to provide new benefits to its remote employees since some of the old perks, like free gourmet cafeteria food onsite, don’t make as much sense. Instead, remote employees may need better laptops and monitors, stronger internet connections, and equipment for audio and visual livestreaming.
- University of Minnesota plans to shut multiple retail dining outlets
University of Minnesota administrators are recommending the closure of multiple on-campus retail dining spots by July. The dining venues were chosen based on an analysis of foodservice campuswide, according to an email sent to deans by Vice President of University Services Michael Berthelsen. The University's Contract Administration and an outside consultant looked at factors including finances, location, hours of operation and use of FlexDine, the university’s flex dollars program that can be used to make purchases at any campus dining location. The recommendation for closures to the retail locations is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the email reads.
"In the course of our work, it has become apparent retail foodservice on the Twin Cities campus writ large is unable to generate the revenue necessary to cover operating expenses and break even," Berthelsen, who endorsed the recommendation, said in the email. “While the decision to close these locations is not an easy one, it’s a necessary next step as we define the future of dining on the Twin Cities campus.".
- Atlanta Schools announces limited summer meal program
Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and partner organizations will provide limited meals on three Mondays in June, the district has announced. APS and Southwest Foodservice Excellence, its food service vendor, created a massive free-meal program in March as the coronavirus pandemic closed the district. That program in its various forms served 160,000 meals a week, according to APS, but ended May 18. The limited summer-break replacement is projected to serve 60,000 meals by providing five-day meal packs on June 1, 8 and 15 through the partner organizations Horizons, Breakthrough and the Boys and Girls Club to families enrolled in their food programs.
- Minor League Baseball teams offer curbside pickup of concessions items
A growing number of Minor League Baseball organizations across the country are now making their signature concessions available for curbside pickup amid the coronavirus pandemic, offering everything from hot dogs and wings to more quirky, regional favorites such as “trash cans” and loose-meat sandwiches.
“In these trying times, such endeavors allow teams to perform a community service, stay in the public eye, establish a revenue stream and unload a surplus of perishable goods,” wrote MiLB.com in a recent roundup of the Minor League ballparks now selling their treats to-go.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]