Making New Service Models Work Onsite Food Service Operations

This article was written by Mike Buzalka for Food Management.

When the coronavirus pandemic changed everything last spring, onsite dining programs were challenged with continuing to operate in an environment where many traditional service models such as self-serve bars no longer were feasible.

In response, operators either modified existing service outlets—for instance by converting self-serve stations to staff-serve—embraced or fast-tracked emerging new technologies such as mobile ordering and/or created whole new ways of service, such as the curbside meal distribution deployed by many school systems, impromptu mini grocers set up by hospitals to serve staff and even home-delivered meals to remote-working employees by business dining programs.

While the current pandemic will eventually pass, its effects on in-house dining programs are likely to last much longer, which means that the new service models developed and deployed during the course of the crisis will have to remain viable while offering an approximation of the same levels of service, convenience, quality and choice—and of course safety!—as before COVID-19.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most prominent developments in new and emerging service models in the major onsite dining markets and how they’ve been refined to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world.

When the coronavirus pandemic changed everything last spring, onsite dining programs were challenged with continuing to operate in an environment where many traditional service models such as self-serve bars no longer were feasible.

In response, operators either modified existing service outlets—for instance by converting self-serve stations to staff-serve—embraced or fast-tracked emerging new technologies such as mobile ordering and/or created whole new ways of service, such as the curbside meal distribution deployed by many school systems, impromptu mini grocers set up by hospitals to serve staff and even home-delivered meals to remote-working employees by business dining programs.

While the current pandemic will eventually pass, its effects on in-house dining programs are likely to last much longer, which means that the new service models developed and deployed during the course of the crisis will have to remain viable while offering an approximation of the same levels of service, convenience, quality and choice—and of course safety!—as before COVID-19.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most prominent developments in new and emerging service models in the major onsite dining markets and how they’ve been refined to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world.

Mobile order, delivery and ghost kitchens in colleges

With the traditional role of campus dining programs to get students to congregate and share meals severely curtailed by COVID-imposed distancing policies, college dining operators have had to develop new service models to provide students not only with meals but also meals that approximate the quality, variety and convenience they offered previously, if only to justify meal plan prices and help provide an enticement for students to continue to come to campus for the “college experience.”

Perhaps no service model has seen more growth over the course of the pandemic period than mobile ordering, which had already been making inroads pre-pandemic in the college/university segment with its young, tech-savvy core customer base. The major development in the past year in this market has been not just in its expansion to more campuses but also its spread to residential dining menus…

Read More

 


 

Read also:

Don’t Let your Menu go to the Dogs

Why Restaurants Shouldn’t ’86’ Marketing Efforts During COVID-19 – Top 5 Ways to Connect with your Guests

COVID-19 Relief is Emerging. Where to Turn for Help

Share: