5-year Revenue Trend (in $millions)
1800 Motor Pkwy.
Islandia, N.Y. 11749
Paul Whitcomb, President/CEO
Whitsons partnered with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to increase healthy, sustainable plant-based menu offerings to school districts through a program called Veggabóls, which it says is the first 100% plant-based K-12 concept in the country. As a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion, Veggabóls is a signature step in Whitsons School Nutrition’s goal of providing at least 10% plant-based menu offerings by 2024.
Veggabóls offers healthy and sustainable plant-based recipes developed by a team of HSUS chefs, who modified several of Whitsons’ top school menu options as plant-based recipes, along with developing new proprietary recipes such as the Fiesta Rice and Beans Veggabóls and the BBQ Chickpea and Rice Veggabóls. Supplementing these choices are the many additional plant-based meal options in the Whitsons recipe database.
In addition, the FM Best Concept Award winning K-12 Pop-Up Shops are designed to generate a lot of excitement in a short period of time, keeping K-12 menu offerings fresh and enticing and ultimately increasing meal participation.
Whitsons continues to add new concepts to the Pop-up Shop portfolio, which includes Yard Bird and its “original chicken sandwich,” served grilled or crispyon a brioche bun, with lettuce, tomato, pickles and secret sauce; Sabrosos Tacos where students can customize soft or hard taco shells with chicken, beef or black beans and an assortment of flavorful toppings like mango salsa, pickled cabbage, pico de gallo, jalapenos and pickled red onions; Ciabatta Sams with various sandwich combinations served on ciabatta bread, including Neptune’s Fish and Chips (served with tomato, pickle and special sauce), The Tuscan (balsamic roasted veggies and a combo of provolone and mozzarella cheeses) and The Country Turkey Megan (turkey special loaded with coleslaw, Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese and tomato); Nashville Hot Kickin’ Chicken, servng crispy chicken with a hefty dose of spice thanks to a cayenne pepper coating and spicy sauce drizzled over the top, served on a warm potato bun with coleslaw and pickles; Seoul Taco, a fusion of Korean-style taco fillings placed on a traditional Mexican-style tortilla with the choice of beef, chicken, shrimp or tofu served with various toppings; Incredibowls, serving grain bowl combinations like Chicken Fiesta Rice Bowl, Mediterranean Hummus Quinoa Bowl, BLT Quinoa Bowl, Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowl and Vegetarian Rice Bowl; and the Wing Shack, serving a choice of boneless or regular wings with the flavor of the day like Honey BBQ, Hot Buffalo, Garlic Parmesan, Honey Sriracha, Thai Chili and plain.
Another recent Whitsons initiative is an emerging Halal program in several client school districts—and intended to expand to more in the coming school year—that offers cultural authentic recipes like Chicken Shawarma, Chana Masala, Palak Chana, Vegetable Biryani and Afghan Pizza created to provide clients with traditional halal cuisine.
Whitsons has also continued to enhance its mobile menu platform which brings menu planning, nutrition information, meal ingredients and real-time allergen information to the fingertips of students, parents and school district staff. Districts may also opt to add the meal pre-ordering tool, which gives secondary students the opportunity to customize and pre-order grab-and-go meals and increase the speed of service.
Meanwhile, the company has also launched its new Enhancing Life program to support local communities in different ways in which it hosts a different initiative such as 9/11 Day of Service, Coats for Our Communities, Enhancing Life for the Holidays and Community Togetherness on MLK Day.
Another initiative is the Whitsons’ Nutrition Safari program, designed to make learning about nutrition a fun, exciting adventure for elementary students. Last year, the company introduced new characters representing different food themes that reinforce good nutrition and physical activity so now students can join Luke the Lion, Jillian the Giraffe and Hardy the Hyena and their new friends Sammy the Squirrel, Walter the Bookworm and Talia the Toucan as they go on a culinary adventure right at school. Together, the new friends try new foods and learn how to stay healthy and strong through nourishing food and physical activity. Students are also introduced to a variety of nutrition topics through themed monthly marketing materials and coordinated menu offerings. They can visit Whitsons’ special Lunch Lab, where they can learn hands-on all about the company’s Harvest of the Month items. The program can even reach students when they’re not in school through monthly Safari videos on the Whitsons YouTube channel.
To support its associates, Whitsons also recently introduced its Whitsons General Manager University program, which is designed to provide all newly hired and/or promoted general managers with the support they need to succeed, given that getting new team members up to speed can improve job performance by up to 11% and improve customer retention by 12-16%.