Michigan Dining, a Student Life auxiliary unit, has earned two grand prizes for the 2015 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards, given by The National Association of College and University Food Services. After extensive renovations and their first year in operation, both Central Campus Dining at South Quad and Fireside Café in Pierpont Commons have earned the grand prize in their categories.
More than 70 colleges and universities across North America submitted entries in six categories, and a team of six judges examined each entry carefully and selected top candidates in each category.
“The Loyal E Horton Dining Award is a prestigious prize given to those colleges and universities that excel in incorporating new trends into their dining programs,” said Lisa Krausman of University of Northern Iowa, the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards chair. “It is highly competitive and a high honor that NACUFS members strive for.”
For Residential Dining Concepts at a Large School, Michigan Dining took home the Grand Prize, as well as the Gold Award, for its Central Campus Dining at South Quad facility. Michigan students, faculty and staff took an instant liking to South Quad’s market-style dining hall with ten micro-restaurants. There’s also a special pantry for the growing population of students with allergies, celiac disease or a preference for gluten-free foods.
For Retail Sales — Multiple Concepts/Market-place at a Large School, Michigan Dining took home the Grand Prize Award, as well as the Gold Award, for Fireside Café at Pierpont Commons, the student union on North Campus. Fireside Café has a successful niche in nutritious comfort food and international dishes served at five themed concepts. Located near the North Campus transportation hub, customer satisfaction was the driving force that allowed Fireside Café to better serve North Campus, resulting in a nearly 200 percent increase in daily customer counts over the previous year.
“Its an honor to be recognized not once, but twice, with the Grand Prize Award. These successes are due to the great effort by hundreds of people in Michigan Dining. I’m proud of the teamwork that creates delicious, healthy food in responsible, sustainable ways,” said Michigan Dining Director Steve Mangan.
Sustainability is an important part of all seven dining halls and more than 24 markets and cafés across the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus. Michigan Dining maintains a high rate of recycling and composting in its operations. It makes a local economic impact by dedicating 27 percent of its total food budget on Michigan vendors and 12.7 percent on sustainably produced foods within a 250-mile radius. U-M was the first among Big 10 universities to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification for providing sustainable seafood to diners.
Competing for one of these prestigious awards not only helps market the dining program as an award-winning program, it builds a sense of pride and team spirit within a dining staff. Sharing creativity and knowledge with other foodservice professionals is a key component to NACUFS membership.
This year’s contest entries are displayed at the NACUFS national conference and award winners were publicly recognized at a luncheon, culminating with the announcement of the Grand Prize winners. Grand prize winners also will receive recognition with a feature article in NACUFS’ magazine, Campus Dining Today.
Named for a NACUFS founder, past president and highly regarded innovator, the Dining Awards celebrate exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning, and new dining concepts, and provide an avenue for sharing ideas and creative presentations in campus dining services.