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:
1. Survey shows strong preference for online order in corporate dining
A survey of more than 1,600 employees across America by Nutrislice indicates that 80% of those returning to an office are concerned about how they will order and pay for their onsite food, and 90% indicated they prefer to be able to select, order and pay for food through a mobile app or online in order to mitigate physical contact with a server and/or cashier. Almost 40% said they would avoid food offered by corporate dining if contactless ordering and payment options were unavailable.
Among other results from the survey, over 60% said they are only somewhat satisfied or not satisfied at all with the contactless options currently provided by corporate dining, and among those not planning on getting food from their corporate dining provider, half said it is because they are concerned about food-handling safety and being in proximity to servers and/or cashiers. However, 80% indicated they would be more inclined to get food from corporate dining if contactless ordering, payment, pickup and delivery options were available.
2. Orange County plans grab-and-go meal distribution for remote learning students
With less than a month until the first day of school, 62% of students in the Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools, one of the largest in the country by enrollment, have already enrolled in the county’s LaunchED online learning option, according to Orange County Public School officials. The innovative digital learning platform will keep kids from traditional face-to-face learning during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but will not keep students who rely on free or reduced meal programs from getting their daily nutrition.
“What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna have grab-and-go meals at the schools that the students attend,” Mark Watson, the director of operations for OCPS, said.
Watson said it’s a similar setup to what the school district has been using since schools first closed due to COVID-19 last semester. The grab-and-go meals will begin to be distributed to families who are eligible for the free and reduced-price school meals program under the National School Lunch Program.
All students can receive the meals, students who qualify will receive them for free or at the reduced price.
3. Hospital debuts “food forest” to provide access to “good food” and quiet space
A new food forest has been established and is being tended to by staff and volunteers at the North Island Hospital Campbell River in British Columbia, Canada. The Forest is growing on a 370-square-metre plot of land near the northeast side of the hospital’s main entrance.
The brainchild of Christina Rozema, CRG site director, the idea behind a community food garden was to provide access to good food, which is one of the main determinants of health.
“When I moved to Campbell River seven years ago, I learned that the city produced only one per cent [sic] of its own food, which is very low compared to many places on Vancouver Island,” said Rozema.
At the same time, the garden also provides a peaceful place outside of the hospital setting for staff and patients to relax and enjoy the benefits of nature.
Rozema encourages people from the community to come sit and relax in the garden or “nibble on” the available produce or even participate in maintaining the garden.
“Over time, I really want this small garden to reflect the heart of the hospital and nourish the body and soul of all who wander through it.”
4. With campus dining demand down, Purdue Student Farm sells bounty to the public
The Purdue University Student Farm has started selling to the public. This service will run into the fall, until a date to be determined. Customers will be able to pick up a box of seasonal vegetables grown at the farm once a week for $25.
Chris Adair, student farm manager, said the service is modeled after Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) systems, but without the initial buy-in and the ability to purchase on a week-by-week basis. This is the first year, he added, the farm is operating at full capacity and, with demand from on-campus dining down due to COVID-19, Adair said they are looking for other ways to provide the community with fresh, locally grown produce.
Operating at full capacity also means this has been the farm’s most productive season to date. The farm grows eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, greens, ginger, cabbage, fennel, okra, a variety of herbs and more.
5. Storied Patina Restaurant in L.A.’s Disney Concert Hall closes
Former employees of Patina in Downtown LA’s famed Walt Disney Concert Hall have received letters stating their jobs will be terminated by August 15, 2020, meaning one of LA’s most storied fine-dining restaurants has likely closed permanently. Patina’s listing has also been scrubbed from Patina Restaurant Group’s website. The letter to employees said Patina Restaurant Group’s contract with LA Music Center, the organization that operates many of Downtown’s storied performance venues, has not been renewed, meaning Patina’s sister restaurants Kendall’s Brasserie, The Boardroom, Cocina Roja and Upstage Burger are also unlikely to reopen.
Patina Restaurant Group is owned by Delaware North, a major contract firm that operates dining in multiple sports and entertainment venues as well as airports and public parks and recreation venues.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]