Supported by Atlas Metal, this latest episode sees Scott Reitano FCSI addressing the future of foodservice design in education

As Covid-19 unleashes a plethora of new challenges for the foodservice industry, FCSI is pleased to help provide some of the answers with a new season of its Dynamic Design podcast. While previous episodes featured leading FCSI Professional member design consultants discussing key aspects of design, this season, again supported by Atlas Metal, will look at individual sectors in foodservice and see how foodservice design must evolve in a post-pandemic environment.

The first episode in the new season focuses on the design of commercial kitchens and front-of-house spaces for the education sector: from K-12 to colleges and universities. Our expert interviewee is one of the US – and indeed the world’s – leading design consultants in this field, Scott Reitano FCSI of Reitano Design Group. In April 2020 Scott was named the Consultant Top Achiever for 2020 by Foodservice Equipment Supplies magazine.

You can hear the episode, below.


Understanding the disconnect

“I look at this as an opportunity to change the world,” says Reitano. “If they are at a public school, our children are part of a school lunch program. Over the last 30-40 years ago we’ve watched the rise of childhood obesity, but at the same time, the rise of hunger in children. It doesn’t make sense that those two things go together. Part of that disconnect comes from ‘what are we feeding them?’ and ‘what are their eating habits?’ From a design standpoint, knowing our audience and what their preferences are matters. So we start there.”

So, according to Reitano, what does the world of education foodservice look like post-pandemic, what will the ‘new normal’ be for the sector and how will requirements such as increased social distancing change foodservice in this sector? To prevent long queues where many students people have to gather in one place, Reitano foresees “more pre-ordering, more mobile ordering type ‘pick-up scenarios’ where [students] are given a pre-packaged, hot meal and sit down ‘family style’ and the food is given to them,” he says.

“Choice and customization aren’t going away,” says Reitano. “How we present the food will have to ebb and flow as we look forward in a post-pandemic world.”

How confident is Reitano that the sector specifically will adapt quickly/effectively to these changes and challenges? “They already have. Heroes don’t wear capes. I’ve seen programs turn on a dime,” he says, citing schools that had been serving lunch to go every day moving to three days, or adapting entire delivery systems to serve food – including breakfasts – over weekends to children in poverty.

“It’ll be interesting to see, not if the operators can keep up, but will the funding and National School Lunch program be adaptable enough to make sure the reimbursement rate catch up with what these people are accomplishing in an amazingly short amount of time.”

Further details:

This podcast series is supported by Atlas Metal, a trusted serving equipment partner with a hands-on approach to doing business. See how they’re making metal personal at atlasfoodserv.com.

Season two:

In the second episode of series two, Christine Guyott FCSI of Rippe Associates addresses foodservice design in healthcare – from hospitals to senior living facilities.

Season one:

In episode one, season one of the series, William Caruso FFCSI (PP), founding partner of WC & Partners, Inc. and chair of FCSI The Americas looked at the importance of strategic and practical planning when leading a design-led foodservice project from a consultancy perspective.

In episode two, season one, Kristin Sedej FCSI of S2O Consultants, Inc, addressed how essential it is to have solid partnerships, when working on a design-led foodservice project from a consultancy perspective.

In episode three, season one, Joseph Schumaker FCSI of Foodspace discussed why it is essential to marry strong aesthetic design with robust functionality and the correct processes to achieve the right flow when designing a commercial kitchen.

In episode four, season one, Laura Lentz FCSI of Culinary Advisors looks at why the wellbeing of the end-user (from the back-of-house and front-of-house employees, to the customers) must come first when designing a commercial kitchen space.

The above episodes, and all additional FCSI podcasts, are also available to download on Podbean.

Michael Jones