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The Challenge of Upgrading College and University Foodservice Counters

If you're like most colleges and universities, you've probably been around for a while.

And while this may do wonders for your reputation and your application numbers, it can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to upgrading your college and university foodservice counters.

When a campus foodservice program looks to upgrade or retrofit, the new equipment typically needs to be flexible in its design and have an aesthetic that fits with existing look and feel of the room, which is often complementary and attractive. After all, buying food from a service counter that looks someone's dorm room wouldn't be advised.

Let's take Cornell University, for example. When they decided to upgrade a service area, the needed counters that had a high-end appeal. Specifically, they wanted finished millwork while also providing the durability that comes with stainless steel. And like everyone, they were in a time crunch to meet construction schedules.

What was the easiest way to turn Café Jennie into a premium location for hot and cold beverages, as well as a limited menu of both hot and cold items? Let's take a look.

With serving solutions from Multiteria, a unique stainless steel shell coupled with an ability to provide a beautiful aesthetic using wood veneers and plastic laminates gave the staff at Cornell exactly what they were looking for -- an upgrade in service while maintaining a classic look.

Working with the university's design team and foodservice equipment contractor, a set of solutions were assembled to support all the potential menu items being considered. Blenders, soup warmers, a combi oven, an ice maker, coffee equipment, and much more -- were all assembled around the structure of Multeria's serving counter.

In addition, other portable countertops were included to provide additional functionality, including condiments, napkins, sugar packets, and more. Working with Cornell's desire to separate trash, the service area also included different receptacle areas for compost, paper, bottles, and cans.

Curious how custom design work can help your upgrades? Schedule some time with a college and university foodservice expert at Multitieria.

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A Closer Look at the Food Hall Trend

A Closer Look at the Food Hall Trend

What are food halls, and why are they important? For starters, let's talk about what they are.

Food halls are kind of like a hybrid between a market and a food court. Designed with both shopping and dining in mind, they're generally more specialty-oriented than a typical supermarket and they offer more fast-casual options as opposed to full-service restaurants.

You've likely seen a food hall in your travels, even if you didn't know it was a food hall. Popularized by modern food hall pioneers like the Chelsea Market and Eataly in New York City, the trend quickly spread from coast to coast.

Technically, though, it began decades ago in places like Harrods of London, the Granville Island Public Market in Vancouver, and the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle. For Bostonians, they can lay claim to the Quincy Market, which has hosted food merchants since 1742.

Today, though, the combination of food and retail are experiencing a rebirth. Not only are malls re-inventing themselves, but according to a report from Jones Lang LaSalle, 40 percent of all consumers will visit a mall-type location based solely on the restaurants located there. Cue the food hall, and call the real estate developers.

"Food halls are not a fad," says a 2018 report by developers Cushman & Wakefield. "Food halls are the sharing economy for restaurants."

In their report, they predicted nearly 200 food halls in operation by the beginning of this year. In real estate-driven places like Boulder, Colorado, for example, restaurants are even turning into food halls. What happens when an enormous, 13,000-square-foot Cheesecake Factory closes in a prime, downtown location? Developers plan to turn it into a food hall.

The bottom line, though, is rooted in philosophy. Yes, people will always need to eat. Yes, people will always need to shop. But what's brilliant about the food hall concept is that it plays on another human need which is one of interaction and experience.

Food halls, in just a few short years, have become a deeply loved and entrenched part of our collective foodservice landscape. Food, after all, is something that brings us together in our daily search for interaction and experience and operators are more numerous in this recognition.

Food halls are an emerging foodservice trend that colleges and universities can't ignore.

There are some immediate advantages with a food hall concept.  With less overhead and built-in foot traffic associated with food halls, colleges and universities can promote a lower barrier of entry when courting outside foodservice entrepreneurs to partner with.  Moreover, students have grown up with "marketplace food halls" and desire this experience on campus too.

Discover 7 other foodservice trends in our free 2019 College and University Foodservice Trends Report.

Lakeside and Multiteria have researched seven other trends that will be important to colleges and universities in the 2019-2020 school year.  Download your free copy today to stay on top of the latest ideas and innovations that will help you maintain a first-class foodservice operation!


Attend a brief 30 min. mini-webinar on the "7 Top Trends in C&U Foodservice!"

Join Nancy Lane on Sept. 19th for this quick, jam-packed webinar - 20 mins. content with 10 mins. Q&A.  The seven trends include:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Plant-Forward
  3. Labor Efficiencies
  4. Transparency
  5. New Normal
  6. Food Insecurity
  7. Infusing Digital

Click below and sign up today!