What Date Labels On Food Can, And Can’t, Tell You

Best college for food in America for 2013

Operators of food franchisees are less satisfied with their experience, on average, than people who run other types of franchises, plus food franchisees work relatively long hours and often dont make all that much money, according to the survey, published in September, of more than 4,300 franchisees running about 100 different food-franchise brands, conducted by Franchise Business Review, a market-research company in Portsmouth, N.H. Shutterstock.com Enlarge Image Thinking about investing in a fast-food franchise? Dont bite off more than you can chew. Despite their complaints, a majority of food franchisees69%said theyd do it all over again, though thats a lower percentage than the 72% of all franchisees (not just food operators) who said they dont regret their decision. We survey tons of franchisees: Theyll bash their franchiser on training and leadership, but when you ask them, Would you do it again? the majority of them say, Sure, said Eric Stites, chief executive of Franchise Business Review. Its that love-hate thing. Food franchisees earned an average of $82,000 in 2012, according to the survey, but that average masks wide disparities: 50% of the food operators surveyed said they earned less than $50,000, while 25% earned more than $100,000. Restaurant operators also tend to work long hours: 68% of franchisees surveyed work 40 or more hours per week, 59% work evenings at least a couple of times a week, and 47% almost always work weekends (that compares to 35% of franchisees in all industries). One franchisee quoted in the report said restaurant owners should expect to work 10- to 14-hour days. Read the report. Not an easy path to success Investing in a food franchise can also take substantially more start-up capital than other types of franchises, thanks to real-estate, equipment and supply costs, plus other expenses. Still, the initial investment can vary from as low as $34,500 to as high as $4 million, depending on the type of restaurant, the report said. While starting any type of franchise may be easier than launching an independent small business, franchising is not really an easy path to success, Stites said. Key mistakes to avoid The surveys finding that satisfaction is lower among food franchisees than other types of franchisees is not unusual, Stites said. The food sector is a little bit more complicated a business to run, he said, noting that its often very employee heavy, plus entails dealing with fluctuating food prices, the potential for food spoilage and other challenges. On top of that, youve got probably some of the slimmest profit margins of any business, he said.

For this years second annual study, we had a few goals in mind when revamping the list: to see if the schools that wowed us last year were still maintaining culinary perfection; to see the improvements some of the average dining programs have made to possibly rise in the ranks; and to see if any colleges that didnt make the cut last year have begun to see the importance their dining services have to students. We connected with passionate and candid dining services directors, managers, and chefs, and learned that more than ever, students on the whole are already passionate and knowledgeable about food when they arrive at campus, and are interested in trying new foods and want to know where it’s coming from. Here’s a look at the top 10: 1Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine Flickr/ Accidental Tourist As our top dog this year, Bowdoin College is used to receiving praise for their outstanding food. Serving dishes like mussels in butter sauce, haddock with jalapenos, squash fettuccine, and roasted root vegetables with polenta, it has been ranked near the top of the Best College Food list by Princeton Review, as well as other national lists. “Our dining program has kept pace [with student tastes] without forgetting the basics, which are to provide a welcoming, comfortable counterpoint to the stresses of college life and help students develop a lifelong relationship with healthy, delicious, ‘real’ food,” Michelle Gaillard, the associate director of Operations and Dining Service-Administration, told us. With an emphasis on local purchasing at the on-campus farmers’ markets and locally sustainable produce, their kitchen is preparing some truly gourmet fare. And because of this, Bowdoin features some favorite recipes right on their website for students to enjoy at their home away from home. If that wasnt exciting enough, check out their iPhone app. “If our checkers and servers feel like family, if our dining halls feel like home, if students look forward to relaxing with their best friends over a delicious meal cooked especially for them, then were doing our part to enhance the overall educational experience,” Gaillard said. 2Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis Jerry Naunheim With themed dinners like Dr.

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And lived to tell the tale. Dana Gunders went to the market and found fat-free milk in quarts that had no date label; the half-gallons had a “sell-by” date. A container from a different brand had a “best-by” date. Even though nearly all consumers make some decisions about what to throw away based on those stamped dates, they cannot rely on them, said Gunders, food and agriculture staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She is the coauthor of a report issued by the NRDC and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic calling for changes to make the dates more useful. Currently, those dates are manufacturers’ suggestions for when an item is at its peak or are efforts to help stores manage their inventory not indications of food safety, the report says. Here’s what those labels mean, according to the report: “Best by” or “best if used by”: The manufacturer’s estimate of when the food will no longer be at highest quality. “Use by”: An estimate of the last date it’s at peak quality. “Sell by”: The manufacturer’s suggested date to the grocer to no longer sell a product, based on the idea that it will still be good quality for a “reasonable” time if purchased on that date. Still, more than 90% of Americans say they use those dates to decide whether to discard food, leading to tons of wasted food each year, the report notes. “I don’t know of any data that consuming a product beyond the date has caused illness,” said Labuza, a professor of food science and engineering at the University of Minnesota who has studied shelf life for decades. His sour cream was OK because he keeps his refrigerator at 34 degrees. He recommends consumers let theirs go no higher than 40 degrees and get a thermometer to make sure. Even at that temperature, listeria can grow, he cautioned. But that is not related to those stamped dates.

Cargill Food Distribution teams up with Teys Australia to provide Americans with quality beef from “Down Under”

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