College and University Dining Is Changing
Is this how Fall on college campuses looks in 2020?
It’s the time for filled football stadiums, new freshmen learning the lay of the land, and for crowded auditoriums and cafeterias. This year, though, things are going to be a lot different. And that’s not even counting those colleges and universities that will be operating entirely online.
While academics and athletics are certainly being impacted, C&U dining operations are also being forced to change their service models. As detailed in a recent CNN article on-campus dining, students will likely not enjoy some of the traditional C&U dining experiences.
Don’t expect to see self-serve buffets, long meals with friends to discuss the latest lectures, or even the famous lunch rushes that usually occur at the end of particular class period. Instead, those dining standards will be replaced by tables spaced six feet apart, grab-n-go meals that might have to be scheduled, and timed meals so staff can clean and sanitize between seatings.
What else can we expect to see? Here are some C&U foodservice trends we’re likely to see over the next several months:
TRADITIONAL DINING AREAS AND SERVICE MODELS WILL CHANGE.
The ways students ate in the past will not be possible over the next several months or potentially longer. Don’t expect to see buffets or self-serve options at all, even with beverage machines. The matters of space and time won’t just be limited to a physics lecture. Students will be spread out as much as possible and may have scheduled meal times.
LOOK FOR AN INCREASE IN TAKEOUT AND DELIVERY.
Two ways to maintain safety and distance are to either individually wrap foods for takeout purposes or to deliver food directly to the students. Just like the restaurant industry, expect to see an increase in both types of foodservice on our college and university campuses.
WILL THERE BE A RISE IN GHOST KITCHENS?
Again, just like we’re experiencing in the restaurant industry, can we expect to see spaces on university campuses and in college towns convert themselves to ghost kitchens and commissary-type operations? The reality is delivery and takeout has always been enormously popular amongst students, so a rise in ghost kitchens is likely in C&U foodservice.
THERE WILL NEED TO BE TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION TO PULL OFF THE CHANGES IN FOODSERVICE.
Many universities are ramping up technology platforms for online ordering, reservations, and meal schedules. This helps streamline operations and can even permit service to students who may be isolated in quarantine. Using technology can also help prevent excessive numbers of students from congregating at the same time, while also matching meals with a certain quantity of students at a particular time. In essence, technology can help with some of the new logistics that will need to be considered.
On the innovation front, directors will need to consider a different set of solutions and supplies that might be required for changes in service. From preserving quality foods during the delivery process to pick-up cases designed for contactless takeout, C&U foodservice operators will likely look at new innovations outside of their traditional requirements.
Middleby can help you adapt to all of the changes you are facing. Schedule some time with one of our experts today.
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