Students today, from K-12 to college and universities, have high expectations around their foodservice and on-site dining experiences. Read these approaches to offer engaging foodservice solutions across all educational environments.
Grab-and-go is paramount
Today’s students need to be able to pick up meals for dining in classrooms, residence halls, quads, and campus centers. Here are some tips and equipment to make it work.
- Convert traditional dining spaces to market-style grab-and-go centers.
- Repurpose self-service hot and cold bars for extra grab-and-go space.
- Add temperature-controlled holding cabinets to keep meals at temperature and attractive reach-in cases ready for showcasing meals and encouraging impulse buys.
- For grab-and-go efficiencies, batch-cooking in centralized operations makes sense. Key equipment needs include blast and tumble chillers, hot-water baths and all-in-one tanks.
- In the K-12 environment, meals may be taken exclusively in the classroom. In this case, grab-and-go could mean selecting options from temperature-controlled mobile carts dispatched around the school.
Online ordering is taking over campus
According to a survey from foodservice technology company Nutrislice, 87 percent of students said that online ordering for pickup through a website or mobile app was a very or somewhat important factor when choosing what to eat on campus. And there’s no sign of this trend slowing down, given Gen Z’s preference for fast, convenient dining experiences that allow for customization.
Make sure that your operation has a strong online ordering platform in place to meet demand seamlessly and to create an experience that college students will return to again and again.
Revamp your menu
A new school year is always a great time for foodservice directors to reassess their menus and make sure they’re serving options that satisfy today’s students, meet nutritional needs and stay within budget. Here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind.
Worth the wait
Some dishes can’t stand prolonged hold times, like between classes or lunch shifts. Think about selections that retain quality over time. Breakfast scrambles, protein bowls and flavorful chili are smart, filling options.
Plant-based is a must-have
65 percent of Gen Zers say that they prefer a “plant-forward” diet and more than 75 percent go meatless multiple times a week. Kitchen needs for plant-based proteins are minimal; however, combi-ovens can help keep these menu-items succulent, while fryers help enhance texture.
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