In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- Aramark to acquire healthcare culinary/environmental services firm
Aramark has agreed to acquire Next Level Hospitality, a New Jersey-based provider of culinary and environmental services to skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities that generated revenues of $160 million in the past 12 months, operating in hundreds of locations, primarily on the East Coast, the Midwest and Texas. Headed by former Aramark Healthcare Division President David Carpenter, Next Level will operate as a separate division under its own brand within Aramark’s health care business.
- Compass acquires “virtual cafeteria” firm in California
Compass Group USA has acquired EAT Club, a California-based “virtual cafeteria” firm that offers individually ordered and packaged meals in one synchronized delivery for companies that don’t have a dedicated dining option in their buildings. EAT Club, which has a client base of about a thousand companies, including Google and Postmates, will become part of the Compass Digital Labs unit, whose CEO, Jugveer Randhawa, comments, “Given the pandemic and market trends, EAT Club offered us a mature technology that we could get to market quickly and provide a more adaptive food delivery model to clients. We have dabbled in distributive delivery models for some time, as well as mobile delivery at our corporate campus customers, but this deal brings together a catering business with a café business.”
Read more: Exclusive: Compass Group Acquires EAT Club
- SNA welcomes American Families Plan proposal to expand CEP
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has welcomed the proposal to allow more schools to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as part of The American Families Plan recently announced by the President Biden. Many CEP-eligible schools do not currently participate in the program because the reimbursement formula does not allow the program to claim all school meals at the free rate, making CEP financially untenable. “Any effort to enable more schools to participate in CEP will increase access to healthy school meals in needy communities,” comments SNA President Reggie Ross.
SNA is urging Congress and the administration to permanently provide school breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge as part of their educational experience and also welcomed the proposal to expand direct certification with Medicaid for free and reduced price meals, as well as a proposed demonstration to provide additional funding to schools exceeding school meal standards.
- Grand Valley State campus to be all cashless by December
Grand Valley State University in Michigan will begin converting to a cashless campus in April with plans to complete the process by December. Greg Sanial, vice president for finance and administration, says more than 80% of transactions on campus are already digital. “Campus dining has already transitioned to all digital payment transactions in response to the pandemic,” he notes. “The number of cash transactions on campus has continued to decline markedly over the past few years.”
- Study: eating in groups influences dining choices—both good and bad
A study of some 6,000 Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) employees found that dining together influences food choices, with individuals choosing healthy and unhealthy items based on the choices of those with whom they dine. For the study, researchers followed the eating habits of a diverse employee group over two years as they dined at the hospital system’s seven cafeterias, using the dining program’s traffic light system to determine the healthfulness of the meals chosen.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]