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:
- Sodexo to expand Foodee platform for B&I clients
Sodexo’s newly acquired restaurant aggregator Foodee,has announced the expansion of its food technology platform for businesses with flexible and changing workforces. The platform, now a part of Sodexo’s corporate services division, features more than 800 local restaurants in 14 cities across the U.S. and Canada, with expansion to major markets New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Montreal within the next year.
The service lets client companies invite employees to the platform to choose their meals in advance or same day and have it delivered to a central location. Each meal is delivered individually wrapped and labeled, and employees can store their dietary restrictions, allergies and food preferences to filter options quickly and facilitate future ordering. Menus vary from healthy wraps and salads to deep fried selections and comfort food.
- Maine, California pass universal free school meal legislation
Maine and California have passed legislation that will allow schools in the states to continue to offer free meals for all students even after the current emergency universal free meal program instituted during the COVID crisis by the federal government lapses, which currently is the end of the 2021-22 school year unless extended. That is something being urged by the school nutrition community, child nutrition advocates and the School Nutrition Association.
- New $250 staff/commuter meal plan unveiled at WSU
Washington State University is debuting a new meal plan designed for staff, faculty members and off-campus students that gives users a 25% discount at all three campus dining centers and a 5% discount at all retail dining locations. Unlike a Resident Meal Plan, the Mini Meal Plans can't be replenished but must be purchased in $250 blocks that are non-refundable.
- Growing automation trend comes with pluses and minuses
Automation of some aspects of the foodservice industry may be inevitable given labor shortages and the need to keep boosting efficiency and cutting costs, but there may be downsides in safety, employee satisfaction and customer service aside from the benefits. In fact, as labor gets more expensive, the country may be evolving toward a bifurcated service environment in which most consumers will get impersonalized rote service while those who can afford to pay for it get service that is much more personalized from human being rather than machines.
- Sacre bleu! Pizza-making robot to debut in Paris
Speaking of automation, robotics is making inroads in even the most traditional food cultures, such as France, where a new kind of pizzeria is opening in the Beaubourg district of central Paris. The eatery comes with a twist: the service, from order-taking to cutting slices and putting the pizzas in boxes, is provided by robots.
Read more: Pizza-making robot makes its debut in Paris
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]