Foodservice Industry Feature: College and University Foodservice


The local area is home to some of the top colleges and universities in the country. A few examples include the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Johns Hopkins University. In addition to being known for their quality educational opportunities, these universities also have exceptional foodservice programs.

Innovation is taking place quickly at colleges and universities, and that includes cafeterias. As an example, The University of Maryland uses a swipe card to help track the meal choices of students. Enhancing college cafeterias with some of the latest college and university foodservice techniques can help educational institutions attract some of the top students in the world. What are the new methods involved in college and university foodservice?

Differentiate With Serving Lines

Today, students have higher expectations than they have ever had in the past. Students want to get their food as quickly as possible, but they also want it to be healthy. In particular, many students are looking for grab-and-go options, such as fresh food, prepackaged sandwiches, yogurt, and hummus. Many students also want the ability to order ahead with online ordering, allowing them to save time when they actually get to the cafeteria.

Furthermore, students want to have an easier time differentiating meals that are being served. That is an area where distinct serving lines can be helpful. While having a handful of serving lines can reduce crowding in dining areas, many colleges and universities use serving lines to differentiate the meals that they serve. If students can clearly see the food options available in different serving lines, they will have an easier time deciding what they want, allowing them to save time when they need a meal.

Ventless Is The Future

Students also expect that their food is going to be prepared ethically. As colleges and universities are widely expected to be moral arbiters, it is critical for university kitchens to take the lead when it comes to sustainability. That is one of the top reasons why ventless cooking equipment is the future.

Instead of using traditional gas cooking equipment, many college and university dining areas are switching to electric appliances that do not require a vent. While making the switch to electric cooking equipment can help colleges and universities reduce their carbon footprints, there are other benefits of making the switch to ventless cooking equipment as well.

For example, it will be much easier for colleges and universities to find a location for their appliances because they no longer need to worry about accommodating a giant vent. Already, ventless cooking equipment has become popular in commercial kitchens, including ghost kitchens, providing extra flexibility for chefs and cooks. Ventless cooking equipment can still keep up with demand, allowing colleges and universities to feed large numbers of people in a confined space.

Use Prepared Food Holding Cabinets

When the food is ready, it needs to be kept fresh until students can come and pick up their orders. Prepared food-holding cabinets, including the Vision Series from Federal, can be used to store both hot and cold items. These cabinets have a clean, minimalist style and come with a variety of customizable options. A few of the top choices include curved glass profiles, glass slides to increase engagement, luxury finishes, and innovative lighting.

Perhaps the students don’t want to come and pick up their food from the dining hall. In that case, delivery robots from Starship can be used to transport food directly to students. Already, George Mason has seen just how beneficial these robots can be, and countless other universities in the DMV area can benefit from them as well.