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:
- Suicides prompt Las Vegas schools to look at reopening
The surge in student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation’s fifth largest, into bringing students back as quickly as possible. The county saw 18 suicides over the first nine months of COVID-imposed school closures, double the nine the district experienced the entire previous year, according to Superintendent Jesus Jara. “When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” he notes.
- CDC study finds low COVID spread in schools
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of 17 rural Wisconsin schools shows that COVID-19 spread in schools appears to be low, with only seven school-attributed COVID cases among the 4,876 students, and none among the 654 staff, attributed to school attendance over the 13 weeks of the study last fall. However, another CDC study that looked at two high school wrestling events in Florida in December, did show high risk associated with holding sports events.
- RIT repurposes ice rink into social and dining space
The Frank Ritter Ice Arena at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has been transformed into a space for dining and studying due to COVID-mandated requirements for social distancing. Tall drapery is used to section off different “rooms” serving as a lounge/dining area, stage, large study space and gaming area on the rink floor with dining services and food trucks offering students food options.
- Vanderbilt Dining adds new concepts, old favorites and mobile order pickup stations
Vanderbilt Campus Dining is launching a new dining program with a redesigned menu, new dining concepts and newly sourced ingredients for the spring semester, bringing back old favorites like the Randwich and pho along with new concepts like Bao!, Smokehouse, Crafted Flatbreads and Toasted, the latter offering a take on customizable avocado toast. Also new are express GET stations where students can pick up mobile-ordered meals while skipping dining venue lines.
- Automated retail technology firm adds veteran concessions exec to build business
In a potential sign of how seriously the automation technology industry is taking the market potential of onsite venues in the wake of trends accelerated by COVID, checkout-free technology vendor Zippin has hired veteran concessions executive Gary Jacobus as senior vice president for business development. Most recently, Jacobus was with FM Top 50 travel concessions firm SSP America, where he grew the business by over $470 million in annual revenue during his three-year tenure, and had also held a similar position within Aramark's Sports and Entertainment Division as well as senior business development positions with the NBA, NFL, IMG and the United States Tennis Association.
Zippin has been among the leading deployers of checkout-free technologies that let customers simply take items off shelves and be charged automatically as they leave the store. Its most recent installations are at the Golden 1 Center NBA arena in Sacramento and the NFL’s Empower Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, as well as at major corporate campuses and retailers oversees.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]