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:
- University of Georgia to offer customizable meal plans this fall
University of Georgia Dining Services will begin offering students customizable dining plans in partnership with the Student Government Association for the 2021-2022 school year. Under the initiative, students will be able to customize a dining plan using an online meal plan builder based on their housing status, year and how often they plan to eat in the dining commons and at retail dining locations.
- Pennsylvania school meal programs hit with pandemic-induced deficits
School meal program budgetary losses due to the COVID pandemic hit a number of Western Pennsylvania school districts, with the Deer Lakes district incurring a $141,000 deficit mainly due to “no participation for several months of quarantining while all food service staff members were paid their full wages and benefits,” said spokesman Shawn Annarelli, who added that there also was no revenue generated from reimbursements of a la carte sales. At Franklin Regional, which typically operates at a surplus ranging between $25,000 and $50,000, there was a year-to-date loss of about $75,000 in the meal program while Hempfield Area, which typically breaks even, is on track to lose about $125,000 this year.
- Judge rules hospital can fire workers who refuse COVID vaccination
A federal judge has ruled that employees of the Houston Methodist hospital system can lose their jobs if they refuse to be vaccinated against the COVID virus as required by their employer. The decision is the first legal finding in a growing debate balancing worker rights and healthcare institution policies intended to protect patients. Back in April, Houston Methodist became first major U.S. health care system to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers, something resisted by a number of employees, 117 of whom filed the lawsuit that resulted in the recent judicial decision.
- University at odds with dining workers union over summer hours
The University of Missouri (MU) has responded to a number of complaints voiced by members of an employee union representing Campus Dining Services employees that said summer hours had been severely cut or eliminated, that employees cannot keep their benefits during the summer and that the university has taken away the union's right to file grievances. MU spokesperson Christian Basi noted that Campus Dining Services regularly sees a decrease in hours over the summer months, with those hours further reduced this year since a number of specialty camps were not scheduled due to the COVID pandemic. Basi also claimed that affected employees were offered temporary work in other departments, with many refusing.
Read more: University responds to union complaints
- Non-profits to operate most concessions in Cleveland ballpark
With staffing shortages looming as the Progressive Field Major League Baseball ballpark in Cleveland readies to opens back up to full capacity, concessions operator Delaware North plans to turn to non-profit organizations to man concessions stands in return for a commission donation to the organization. The program has been in place since the ballpark opened, and about 80% of the stands are operated this way.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]