Each Friday Food Management compiles a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the onsite foodservice news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of March 30:
- U.S. Open tennis complex converts to meal kit prep and distribution
Even as a 350-bed hospital facility is being constructed at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the home of the US Open in Flushing, N.Y., the complex’s Louis Armstrong Stadium is being utilized to prepare and distribute up to 25,000 packages of meals every day. Each package will consist of two days’ worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner for patients, workers and children.
Levy Restaurants, the food and beverage supplier for the US Open, along with fellow Compass North America operating company Restaurant Associates, are using the stadium’s commissary to fulfill meal packages.
“The city needs to create and distribute in excess of 100,000 meals a day for COVID-19 patients, workers and underprivileged school children who rely on breakfast and lunch in the school system for their nourishment for the day,” says USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center COO Danny Zausner. Tractor-trailers are coming from all over the country with the food that the culinary team will box up for distribution.
“There will be up to eight teams building the packages itself: two teams of people building the box program in umpire dining, two teams in the food commissary, two teams in the Levy office and dry goods service area and two teams on the court itself,” Zausner added
- UL Lafayette is feeding all campus residents for free
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is feeding all campus residents for free, including students who remain in residence halls as well as in the school’s Legacy Park, Cajun Village and the Heritage residences. To-go lunch and dinner meals are served in separate three-hour windows in the Cypress Lake Dining Hall while The Brew in the student union is offering to-go breakfasts Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. and regular to-go options from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Top 50 firm SFE names new CEO
Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), an FM Top 50 firm that specializes in serving the K-12 school market, has appointed Monty Staggs CEO, effective April 1, 2020. Staggs previously served as acting CEO as well as vice president of culinary innovation, co-president, and president of culinary, innovation & customer development for the company after joining SFE in 2012.
Boasting a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University, Staggs brings over 25 years of culinary, K-12 foodservice and leadership to the CEO position. He began his career in fine dining, receiving numerous awards as executive chef at critically acclaimed restaurants in Miami, Houston and Los Angeles, then progressed to serving as a corporate executive chef and as corporate research and development chef for two restaurant chain operators.
- Work-from-home causing mealtime struggles for tech workers
The coronavirus outbreak and work-from-home orders that forced tens of thousands of employees away from the subsidized gourmet cafeterias of high-tech Bay Area companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Square, Twitter and Uber have resulted in the swamping of area meal order and takeout platforms. One result was that Facebook's VPN IP got banned from DoorDash because so many people were trying to order food from home while connected to the corporate network at about the same time that it threatened to crash the system.
This somewhat cheeky article looks at the phenomenon and the ways cooking-skill-challenged techies are coping with securing meals, but also raises interesting questions about the value of onsite corporate dining services. After all, every minute spent wondering where (literally) your next meal is coming from or attempting to make “totwaffles” (don’t ask, read the article if you’re curious…) is one less minute of productivity, an aspect of the working-from-home culture that the coronavirus impact may bring to the fore.
- The great chicken wing glut of 2020…
With March Madness canceled and restaurants across the country closed, the meat industry is overloaded with chicken wings it can't sell. Onsite foodservices still in operation might want to…er, bone up on their chicken wing recipes.
"The wing business is totally in the gutter," said Stan Neva, the owner of the Northwest Meat Co. in Chicago, which supplies meat to restaurants, hotels and clubs. "The only way we're selling wings is for curbside to-go. We have one pizza place in town that does carry-out and ordered some wings. But that's been it. We probably lost 30 or 40 sports bars," Neva said.
Most chicken wings in the United States are eaten at restaurants and bars, said Russ Whitman, senior vice president at Urner Barry, a commodities market reporting firm in Toms River, N.J.
"There were a ton of wings for March Madness," a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman said. "Suppliers stocked a lot of wings, and since there was no March Madness, they're trying to push them to retail."
But food service providers are set up to process and package wings in large volumes, and they're not always able to repackage them to be retail friendly.
What's more, although retail demand for chicken has spiked, consumers are more interested in breast meat, legs and whole birds.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]