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 June 22:
- The battle over who will bear extra school reopening costs heats up
An estimate from Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., based on outside studies, is that it would take $50 billion to $75 billion for K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, to reopen safely this fall. This funding would be directed to things like barriers, hand sanitizers, and other health and hygiene resources to ensure schools are properly prepared for the coronavirus.
A recent report from the School Administrators Association put the cost of reopening schools with proper safety protocols at nearly $1.8 million per district on average, or roughly $25 billion total. That estimate covers personal protective equipment (PPE), hiring staff to implement new safety protocols, health monitoring and cleaning, and providing transportation and child care.
The American Federation of Teachers said that to reopen safely and "most effectively" would cost at least $116 billion; that figure includes not just personal protective equipment and cleaning materials, but everything from new transportation costs to providing more children with high-speed internet.
A COVID relief package passed by the House last month called the HEROES Act would provide $58 billion in general fiscal relief for K-12 school districts, which could use the money for a wide array of programs and services. However, outside organizations have pushed for Congress to provide at least $250 billion in funding for both K-12 and higher education. And a group of House Democrats has pushed for $305 billion for K-12 school districts in the next coronavirus relief package to use on everything from teacher salaries to distance learning; that group publicized its demand after the House passed the HEROES Act.
- Automated restaurants starting to crop up
High-tech solutions to post-COVID dining service range from unmanned micro-markets and ‘smart’ vending machines to robots making salads and flipping burgers. The next step in this process may be a fully automated restaurant, such as Box’d in Toronto, a recently opened KFC unit in Moscow or the new, zero-human interaction Brooklyn Dumpling Shop that is scheduled to open in New York City in August. The 800-square-foot, 24-hour quick service restaurant will house a state-of-the-art dumpling making machine—The Dumpling Lab—in its front window that can dispense 30,000 dumplings an hour.
Patrons place their orders via an app on their phones or through contact-free ordering kiosks placed in the restaurant. When their order is ready, they receive a text notification to pick up their order from a marked, temperature-controlled locker they open by scanning their specially created barcode.
- Is a support personnel shortage looming for schools this fall?
School districts across the country have considered offering early retirement to older teachers and providing remote assignments to keep them safe. Much less attention, however, has been paid to the support staff—bus drivers, cafeteria workers and custodians—who rely on their hourly pay and can’t work from home.
School districts and states face a “mounting school personnel crisis” as employees choose not to return to work because of health fears, according to John Bailey, a visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The high unemployment rate could in some cases make it easier to hire replacements, he said, but turnover will still spell upheaval for many districts.
- Rutgers plans for steep declines in dining and other revenue sources
Rutgers University projects a massive decrease in housing, dining and parking revenue next school year, perhaps the clearest sign yet that it’s not expecting to fully reopen its campuses this fall. The university’s Board of Governors passed a $4.5 billion budget that anticipates a 43% decline in auxiliary revenue, which primarily includes housing, dining and parking, according to the university.
Rutgers intends to reopen campus for many graduate courses and will prioritize undergraduate studies that demand in-person instruction, such as the arts and engineering design projects, President Robert Barchi said. But social distancing requirements for residence halls, classrooms, dining halls and buses make the return of all undergraduate students amid the coronavirus pandemic difficult to plan for, he said.
Overall, the university projects a $256 million decline in revenue, including $135 million in lost auxiliary revenue and a $67 million decrease in tuition and fees. The projected reduction in auxiliary revenue stems from “less students being able to be housed on campus along with less students taking meal plans and purchasing parking permits, specifically in Summer and Fall, with an increase planned in Spring,” read a slide in the budget presentation.
- ANFP announces new leadership
The Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP) has announced its incoming leaders who will serve for the 2020-2021 year and took office on June 1. They represent ANFP, the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM) and/or the Nutrition & Foodservice Education Foundation (NFEF).
Richard P. Nickless, chef/supply & services director at DDSN Coastal Center, will serve as ANFP‘s chair of the board while Omar Humes, food services director at PruittHealth, serves as chair-elect. ANFP’s treasurer is Felicia Smith, director of hospitality services at Memorial Hospital of Converse County, and Marjorie Smith, director of culinary services at the Homestead of Maplewood in Golden Valley, Minn. will serve as treasurer-elect. John Hickson, culinary director/executive chef at St. Anthony’s Gardens Retirement Community, will serve as the immediate past chair.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]