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Changes in Hill House and 1920 Commons at Penn Dining at the University of Pennsylvania include the addition of customizable hot food stations and the reopening of salad, fruit, and pasta bars.

5 things: Penn Dining initiates more custom dishes and even some self-serve

This and studies showing a possible disconnect between remote work desires and realities are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

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:

  1. Penn Dining initiates more custom dishes and even some self-serve

Penn Dining at the University of Pennsylvania has increased offerings at various dining halls, moving away from pre-packaged meals to more open service options to help prepare them for a return to normal occupancy and operation style in the fall. Changes in Hill House and 1920 Commons include the addition of customizable hot food stations and the reopening of salad, fruit, and pasta bars, though still with staff service instead of self-serve; however, students can grab pre-packaged foods such as wrapped bagels, cereals, and boxed milk instead of waiting for a staff member to hand it to them.

Read more: Penn Dining moves away from pre-packaged items ahead of in-person fall semester

  1. Desire for remote work may exceed the reality

Law and finance are two sectors that may resist the work-from-home culture more than others because of cultural barriers and security concerns, while industries like STEM and tech may be more such options given the competition for talent, according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute study. Meanwhile, another study, by the Boston Consulting Group, finds 89% of employees across multiple industries wanting to be able to work remotely at least some of the time, a percentage that exceeds the percentage that actually did so even over the past pandemic-wracked year. It poses a potential problem for employers who want workers back in offices, but presents a potential opportunity for workplace dining services to make the office environment and its amenities more attractive.

Read more: Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to

  1. App State will let students use meal plan money in bookstore near term’s end

As at the end of the fall 2020 semester, Appalachian State University students with excess meal plan money will again be able to use it with no fund transfer requirement toward bookstore purchases, the school announced. The option alleviates the dilemma students with excess meal plan money near the end of the term have, especially this year with COVID-necessitated restrictions limiting campus dining options.

Read more: Students able to use excess meal plan money in bookstore

  1. Healthcare Services Group sees 14% dietary revenue drop in Q1

Healthcare Services Group (HSG), the 7th largest firm on the 2021 FM Top 50, reported a 14% revenue drop, from $224.857 million to $192.693 million, in its dietary (food and nutrition services) operations in the first quarter of its 2021 fiscal year ended March 31. Overall, the company reported a 9.2% revenue in Q1 of fiscal 2021. HSG, which also operates housekeeping, laundry, linen and facility maintenance services to more than 3,000 healthcare facilities across the country, had a 7% decline in dietary operations revenues in fiscal 2020.

Read more: Healthcare Services Group, Inc. Reports Q1 2021 Results

  1. Mississippi ends correctional foodservice deal with Aramark

Mississippi terminated its prison feeding contract with Aramark and signed a three-year deal with Merchants Foodservice, a locally based foodservice distributor, to provide meals to 15 prisons, youth centers and other facilities across the state. The quality of the food served in the state's correctional facilities was part of a recent lawsuit about overall conditions. An Aramark spokesperson said the contract "was not renewed after the terms concluded and the state chose to bring food service in-house at all locations."

Read more: Mississippi prisons end contract with controversial food provider

Bonus: 8 ways onsite operations can take on food waste and sustainability

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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