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:
- Three NC districts total nearly $275K in unused lunch account balances
COVID-19 prevented North Carolina students from finishing school in the classroom, and that means hundreds of thousands of dollars were unused in kid's lunch accounts.
The Durham Public Schools system said it has $6,570.95 in lunch accounts for students who left the district or students who graduated, while in Cumberland County Schools, Executive Director of Child Nutrition Services Beth Maynard says 12th graders have a total of $15,087.58 remaining in their accounts and all other withdrawn students have a balance of $12,347.92 in accounts. Wake County Public School System has the most amount of money left in lunch accounts for seniors who graduated and students who left the district. The district has a total of $240,901.70 in lunch accounts for inactive students and students who just graduated.
- Oberlin to outsource dining to AVI Fresh
Oberlin College in Ohio is moving ahead with plans to outsource its dining services contract to a new food services provider, AVI Fresh, four months after it announced plans to cut $2 million and possibly as many as 100 unionized campus dining and custodial jobs.
AVI employs unionized workers, sources food locally and "has a track record of outstanding service, provided in consultation with students, faculty and staff at peer institutions we know well," wrote Oberlin President Carmen Twillie Ambar in making the announcement.
AVI has agreed to interview current Oberlin College dining services staff who wish to continue working and pay them at their current rate, she added. The company also agreed to spend $6 million upgrading the college's dining facilities during its contract and has a track record of food safety Ambar said will serve the college well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Charter school reopens with lunch in the classroom
Sunrise Middle School in San Jose, Calif., is welcoming students back to campus for the first time since the novel coronavirus forced school to shut down in March. The middle school has an enrollment of 270 during the school year and about 80 students usually sign up for the optional summer instruction program. This year only 60 students were accepted with more on the waitlist.
The lunchroom will remain empty for the foreseeable future. Students will stay at their desks and be served a prepackaged boxed lunch. They'll be required to wash their hands before and after lunch.
- North Carolina State announces fall dining plan
Upon the North Carolina State University campus’s reopening for the fall 2020 semester, social distancing will be heavily enforced in dining halls, according to plans released by University Communications and Marketing on June 17.
Dining halls will be physically reconfigured and have added regulations in order to allow for easier social distancing, according to Richard Berlin, associate vice chancellor of Campus Enterprises, who offered several examples of upcoming change.
“You’ll be able to sit with people, but the tables and chairs are six feet apart from each other,” Berlin said. “When you go into the dining room, there will be a staging of it and the lines will be very different.”
Other methods that will encourage social distancing include possible outdoor seating, cashless transactions and increased use of takeout options, such as Grubhub.
Berlin said campus eateries will implement more pre-packaged food and meals. All-you-can-eat options and self-service have both been discontinued for the foreseeable future, according to the new plans.
- Will mobile ordering replace concessions queues in future ballparks?
Major League Baseball ballparks opened in the last decade weren’t built with social distancing in mind, but they may become relics because stadiums to follow will have to be built to new standards unimagined before 2020. The Oakland A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays are probably next up in the ballpark-building business, and while neither is going to put a shovel in the ground any time soon, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are finding the science of stadium building has been shaken.
Just getting the hot dog is likely to change. Long queues for beer, soda, water, pizza, popcorn, sausages, burgers and the rest would have to become a thing of the past. And yet, fans are still going to want to eat and drink.
“Just as there’s going to be a move toward mobile ticketing, there will be apps for your cell phone so that you can order you food,” said Jon Niemuth, whose AECOM designed the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and who is putting together a new solar-powered home for the Los Angeles Clippers to be opened in 2024. “You punch in your order and then you get notification that you’re No. 25. And when the No. 25 is ready, you’re notified, you go up and pick it up and you’re never having to stand in those long lines.
“The idea is to minimize queues, and to do it, ballparks are going to have to upgrade their WiFi systems in some cases to handle all of this. You will still get your food, but the experience will be completely different.”
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]