Best Of Show—Texas Tech University
Texas Tech Hospitality Services
In a year of trial and challenge, the dining team at Texas Tech has proved to be adaptable and forward-thinking in redesigning its already cutting-edge, retail-focused campus dining program into one that met the needs of students navigating a new and sometimes scary campus environment. Innovations included adding technology solutions, reformulating and simplifying menus while still satisfying customer preferences and adjusting the meal plan approach to better meet pandemic-imposed needs.
Best Convenience Retail Concept—K-12 POD Market, Chandler USD/Aramark
Aramark’s extension of its higher education convenience retail concept POD Market into the K-12 schools market not only provides additional meal service sales opportunities but gives students a high-impact platform that accords with their increasingly retail-oriented outlook, while also accommodating free/reduced students with NSLP compliant meal solutions.
Best Customer Service Concept—mobile cart program, Rush University Medical Center
Rush University Medical Center
The mobile carts—first one, now two and maybe soon three given their success—at Rush Medical Center conveniently provide fresh, quality hot and cold food options during the day for busy medical staff as a viable alternative to the cafeteria to help decompress lines to encourage continued social distancing. They also use a currently under-utilized conference center catering kitchen and received the highest quality rating among all food options on campus in a recent employee survey.
Best Management Company Concept—Customizable Convenience portfolio, Aramark
Aramark’s Customizable Convenience portfolio is an innovative retail solution developed to yield net positive revenue through a modular kit-of-part system for population sizes under 1,000 guests. Its advanced technology integration and fresh-forward but adaptable product mix
flexes to fit any footprint no matter the size, shape, functionality, or population while the food programs offers a robust assortment of packaged, grab & go and made to-order offerings that fit guest lifestyles and dietary requirements with meal options for all day parts.
Best Menu Concept—Passport Menu, Eskenazi Health
With travel being limited or restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eskenazi Health Food & Nutrition Services is bringing worldwide cuisine to staff and visitors through Passport Menu, which is offering 52 cuisines in the 52 weeks of the current year, with several dozen dishes menued each week corresponding to that week’s cuisine focus. The weekly specials, including new plant-based entrees, are served in multiple outlets with selections adapted to different platforms such as the pizza, deli, grill, action and salad stations in the main cafeteria.
Best New Facility—Worcester Commons, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
UMass Dining Services
Worcester Dining Commons is the latest grand opening at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and also the latest in a line of FM Best Concept Award winning facilities on the campus. The UMass Dining team, led by Ken Toong, powered through the closures, social distancing and general unease of the pandemic, determined to preserve the food culture they’ve worked so hard to build.
Best Renovation—McCall Dining Center, Grambling State University/SodexoMagic
SodexoMagic/Grambling Dining Services
Like other colleges and universities, Grambling State University, a historically black university in Louisiana, has had to deal with the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but
that hasn’t stopped the campus dining program from completing a major $5 million renovation of dining program centerpiece McCall Dining Hall. The new McCall not only boasts 10 serving stations and 24-hour operation complete with a special “late night munchies” overnight menu, but a state-of-the-art sound system, performance stage, game room and two rooms where students can study or hold meetings.
Best Special Event Concept—Birria Pop-Up, American Dining Creations at SUNY Broome
American Dining Creations
One of the first onsite accounts to take a dip into the red-hot birria trend, American Dining Creations (ADC) developed a multi-faceted birria pop-up that had SUNY Broome students lining up to get a taste of the Mexican stew-turned mega trend. The ADC culinary team created three versions of birria tacos (birria beef taco, braised chicken birria and vegetarian tofu birria), which were carefully tested and marketed before being turned loose on the new birria fans on campus. The pop-up event that introduced birria has grown into a concept that is here to stay.
Best Station Concept—Chomp & Go!, University of Florida/Aramark
Chomp & Go! provides the University of Florida a unique and proprietary branded concept that can be duplicated and utilized in multiple locations while also giving each location a signature offer that is different from any other location and which utilizes local, minority and women-owned businesses when possible. One brand with many branches, it offers a unique set of customized menu offers that gives guests a destination dining experience because once a menu offering is selected by one site, it is no longer available for another to choose while highlighting local foods and businesses.
Best Wellness Concept—Puree With a Purpose Challenge, Unidine
The Puree with Purpose Challenge is an annual nationwide competition of Unidine chefs from all backgrounds first created to provide competitive training for the chefs to be able to execute textured meals on the highest level. From that it developed into a curation of creative and innovative new recipes that brings out and incents the company’s culinary talent to create innovative and appealing dishes designed to meet the needs of customers in senior dining facilities experiencing chewing and swallowing difficulties.