The landscape of foodservice at colleges and universities is changing. The student body is increasingly diverse, bringing discerning palates, health-conscious habits, and dietary restrictions to the campus dining experience. When upgrading foodservice equipment, such as commercial refrigerators, dishwashers, or cookware, balancing student dining preferences with kitchen efficiency will help universities create the optimal dining experience. If you’re deciding which pieces to keep and which to replace, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Satisfy Diverse Food Choices
Students have historically complained about a lack of variety in campus dining options. In response, universities are adjusting how they do foodservice to provide an array of globally influenced food choices. Many universities have found success with moving away from buffet-style dining in favor or multiple micro-restaurants with global and local fare.
Satisfying a range of dining styles and tastes calls for incorporating new equipment options, such as hot and cold fresh food bars, display cooking woks, and stone hearth pizza ovens. You may also need to consider doubling up on foodservice equipment to avoid cross-contamination for students with food allergies or dietary restrictions.
Explore Retail-Style Dining
In between classes, busy students need fast, healthy grab-and-go options. The traditional c-store format is declining in favor of unattended stations where students can self-serve and move on with their day.
Refrigeration equipment at grab-and-go locations should have open-front displays, which will encourage student purchases. Another serving option to explore is mobile food carts, which can access students all over campus at peaks times of day, relieving pressure on dining halls.
Prioritize Equipment Upgrades
Colleges and universities typically don’t have an unlimited budget for foodservice equipment, so look at the performance and lifespan of your existing equipment when deciding what to upgrade first. Fortunately, taking advantage of rebates and calculating energy savings over the lifetime of the new equipment will help offset the upfront replacement costs.
If you have equipment needing frequent repairs — more than twice a year — replacement may be the better long-term option. The same goes for equipment experiencing performance issues, such as a decreasing ability to reach and maintain proper temperatures.
While some foodservice equipment can last decades, code changes may drive your upgrade choices. Hoods with mesh filters don’t meet current codes, nor do older refrigeration units that don’t meet newer refrigerant requirements.
Drive Innovation and Sustainability
Sustainability, eco-friendly solutions, and farm-to-table eating are all relevant to today’s college student, which should be reflected in their dining choices. Imbera’s commercial refrigeration appliances are designed to minimize the environmental impact they make at all stages of their life cycle. To learn more about our advanced technology and innovative designs, contact Imbera Foodservice today.