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:
- Major district plans to bus remote learning kids to cafeterias to pick up meals
The Clark County School District (CCSD) in Nevada, which includes Las Vegas and is one of the largest public school districts in the country, plans to run school buses to bring children to cafeterias so they can pick up meals during distance learning, according to Superintendent Jesus Jara. He revealed the plan in response to a question during an hourlong virtual meeting hosted by the CCSD Parents Facebook group but provided few details.
The meeting, which also was attended by CCSD Deputy Superintendent Brenda Larsen-Mitchell, occurred just two days after the school board decided students will start the new school year Aug. 24 with full-time distance learning.
One of the more than 200 questions submitted by parents prior to the Facebook meeting was about whether food distribution will continue during distance learning and if it will be offered at each school to make it more accessible for families.
“So right now, we have change,” Jara replied. “We’re going to have to find ways to open up our cafeterias.”
CCSD can’t continue its current model of food distribution once the new school year starts because it doesn’t have the necessary waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow for it, he said.
CCSD’s plan is for students to go to the closest school to pick up breakfast and lunch and then go home, Jara said. “If you can walk, you can walk to the closest school you’re at.”
School bus drivers will also pick up children who need transportation, take them to a school cafeteria to pick up food and take them back home, he said.
- OpenTable being offered for free to higher-ed dining programs
Online reservation company OpenTable is making its service available to college and university dining facilities free of charge to help institutions manage socially distanced dining on their campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The service allows students to use the OpenTable app or website to book a table in the dining hall much like they would for a local restaurant.
The service has already been rolled out at Cornell University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, St. Norbert College and Bowie State University, the company reported.
- WSJ: Companies start to have second thoughts about work from home
Four months ago, employees at many U.S. companies went home and did something incredible: They got their work done, seemingly without missing a beat. Executives were amazed at how well their workers performed remotely, even while juggling childcare and the distractions of home. Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc., among others, quickly said they would embrace remote work long term. Some companies even vowed to give up their physical office spaces entirely.
Now, as the work-from-home experiment stretches on, some cracks are starting to emerge. Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs.
Months into a pandemic that rapidly reshaped how companies operate, an increasing number of executives now say that remote work, while necessary for safety much of this year, is not their preferred long-term solution once the coronavirus crisis passes.
“There’s sort of an emerging sense behind the scenes of executives saying, ‘This is not going to be sustainable,’” said Laszlo Bock, chief executive of human-resources startup Humu and the former HR chief at Google. No CEO should be surprised that the early productivity gains companies witnessed as remote work took hold have peaked and leveled off, he adds, because workers left offices in March armed with laptops and a sense of doom.
- University at Buffalo to convert AYCTE dining halls to retail
Big changes are coming to campus dining at University at Buffalo (UB), according to meal plan details the university released for the fall 2020 semester. Students can expect a different dining experience when they return to campus, including mobile ordering, timed seating options and new-grab-and-go sites.
A number of campus eateries will be temporarily closed while the Goodyear and Governors Dining Centers, which have served as all-you-care-to-eat (AYCTE) facilities in years past, will become retail operations that offer brunch, lunch and dinner. C3 will be open nightly for dinner, beginning at 4:30 p.m., and will use a zoned and timed reservation system through the GET app.
Students will have 45 minutes to dine in one of four zones at C3. Each zone has 50 socially distanced seats that “will be cleaned, disinfected and sanitized for the next timed reservation group to enjoy,” Raymond Kohl, marketing director for Campus Dining & Shops wrote in an email.
Additionally, UB is making some changes to its meal plan system. All freshmen living on campus will automatically be enrolled in the Flex 14 plan, which includes 14 meals per week and 425 dining “points”—previously dining “dollars”—per semester.
Upperclassmen will have four meal plan options next semester, including the Flex 14, Flex 10 (10 meals per week and 280 dining points), Flex 7 (seven meals per week and 240 dining points) and Upperclassmen Dining Points plan (950 dining points for the entire year).
- Tokyo burger shop experiments with robot order taker
Mos Burger shops in Japan has introduced a robot that can take orders. Mos Food Services, which operates the shops, expects the robot will not only help reduce human contact amid the coronavirus but also help solve labor shortages.
A trial run of using the robot will be held at the Mos Burger Osaki shop in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, until late August. The about 20-centimetre-robot near the cash register recommends featured items to customers and asks if they want to do takeout.
The company plans to utilize the results of the experiment in drive-thru operations and in wait services with a self-propelled robot beginning as early as fiscal 2020.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]