New database to improve food management in dining halls

Mq Borocz

A new database will help Colorado State University Dining Services manage their food and menus and include a net nutrition feature for students.

The database, called CBORD, will contain and manage all of the food items and ingredients CSU Dining Services orders. It will help them track how food is consumed by students in the dining centers and aid in calculating how much food needs to be ordered. This will ultimately help CSU save money by better ensuring the university does not over-buy their food.

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“This new menu management system (CBORD) does everything,” said Liz Poore, director of Residential Dining Services at CSU. “You can put in all the ingredients for all of your recipes and it can help you order your food, forecast meals and help with purchasing.”

Poore said that the university she used to work at, Ball State University, saved $150,000 after using this system. She said CSU needs something like CBORD in order manage their food services more cost effectively and efficiently, according to Poore.

“If we didn’t have systems like this you would be doing it all by hand,” Poore said. “It’d be like going to the grocery store, you have this recipe and it tells you two cups of this and four cups of this. Well just imagine … and we’re talking $14 million a year we’re purchasing (in food).”

In order to work on putting CBORD in place, Poore said that CSU deferred the renewal of their prime vendor agreement from June 2017 to June 2018. This agreement includes contracts with national companies like U.S. Foods and enables CSU to buy their food products directly from such companies in bulk and at a set price. According to Poore, CSU Dining Services wants to get CBORD all set up before making any changes to what food products they buy that might come along with the renewal.

CSU’s prime vendor agreement includes a partnership with Premier Food Safety, who provides training and certification in food safety standards and regulations to restaurants and other eateries around the country.

Poore said that in addition to helping CSU Dining Services better manage themselves, CBORD will also include a net nutrition feature, which will allow students to find out the nutritional content and ingredients in all of the dining center menus. Students will be able to search for what vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options the dining centers provide ahead of time. Students with food allergies will also be able to find out what dishes contain allergens.

In addition to implementing CBORD, CSU Dining Services is also looking for other ways in which they can serve students better, according to Poore. Recently, they started only providing local or organic hand fruit in the dining centers. Poore said that this is a pilot test to see if students eat more hand fruit and care about it being local or organic. If CSU Dining Services receives positive feedback from students, then they will look for other ways they can be sustainable, according to Poore.

In addition to providing organic and local hand fruit, CSU Dining Services also purchases coffee from Bean Cycle Roasters and purchases other local products, including their spices.

There is an annual survey that students can take and provide feedback on CSU’s dining options. There is a 50 percent response rate, according to Poore, which she said allows CSU Dining Services to see any trends in student input and help them learn how they are doing well and how they can improve.

“We serve the students,” Poore said.

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Collegian reporter MQ Borocz can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @MQBorocz22.