A good read on industry insights into higher ed and re-openings:
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been an overwhelming amount of theoretical discussion surrounding how to create safe and effective plans for re-integration. Social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer and good hygiene have been the first and most obvious steps in fighting this war, but now it is time to end theoretical discussion and start implementation.
As food service consultants, JGL is always on the lookout to help our clients find useful information that can better their operations. Throughout the last two months we have participated in and hosted a number of webinars with industry experts across the country, we have been in constant contact with all of our clients (B&I, cultural, Zoos & Aquariums, Botanical Gardens and Higher Education) and have consulted with JDB, JGL’s kitchen design partners to create a focused list of items to support safely re-opening food service establishments. As there are so many elements to consider during this time, we are hopeful that this quick reference guide highlighting some of the most frequently talked about COVID-19 defense tools will be a valuable resource. We have included the product name, website for more information, typical lead time needed prior to receipt and average cost.
Click the link below for the Top 15 COVID-19 Defense Tools:
*Please note the vendors selected, in many cases, are one of many possible vendors and their inclusion in this list is not an endorsement but simply an attempt to guide clients and others to the type of products that are readily available at this time.
As the United States begins to reopen for business in the coming weeks, many of our B&I clients are still looking at how best to balance the safety of their employees while still keeping the on-site F&B operations as successful as possible. Expert panelists representing F&B clients, F&B providers and kitchen designers join the JGL team to discuss best practices and look to what the future of the B&I café might look like in the coming years and months.
Our goal is to provide valuable information to our viewers and hope that each and every one of you will be able to put in place these tools as the workforce returns to the office. We welcome you to watch the webinar in its entirety or skip around as you see fit. If you have any further questions after watching the webinar, we are more than happy to have a conversation with you. Feel free to contact Tracy Lawler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Low- and high-tech solutions to health and safety concerns as employees return to the café (0:00)
- New operational requirements and considerations (29:56)
- The ongoing use of pantries (32:19)
- Catering in the short and long term (40:10)
- Financial expectations and alternate revenue streams (44:42)
CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO VIEW THE WEBINAR:
After two months of working from home, many businesses are looking at re-opening their offices and employee cafeterias. Corporations and food service operators are developing comprehensive COVID plans to minimize employee exposure and maintain social distancing as much as possible. While these plans are commendable, the plans will only be effective if they are well integrated. If I were an associate working in one of the thousands of offices nationwide, I would be asking, “Is it safe to return to the café? What is my company doing to keep me safe?” After speaking with clients and food service providers throughout the country, we’ve created a short list of potential solutions that clients and their operators should be talking about in order to minimize COVID exposure in employee cafeterias.
- Pre-ordering and pre-payment: Now more than ever, ordering one’s food online or via their cell phone is a necessary feature for employee cafeterias. It is relatively easy to implement, increases sales, and reduces lines during peak times. In our COVID world, it also means masses of people won’t be queuing at the cash register to order. Minimal contact between cafeteria employees and customers will further reduce the risk of exposure.
- Self-serve kiosks: Another fairly standard feature seen in many cafeterias today, self-serve kiosks serve much the same purpose as pre-ordering. Increased sales, reduced lines at peak times and reduced contact between cafeteria employees and customers makes it an obvious choice. A hand sanitizer dispenser or sanitizing wipes placed nearby will help ensure the kiosk itself doesn’t become a hazard.
- Reservation times: Whether people will be sitting down to lunch in the cafeteria or taking it back to their desks, the cafeteria represents one of the most prominent dwelling areas in any office. The lunch rush often brings dozens or even hundreds in close proximity with each other. Reservation times to enter the café severely mitigates this risk. Ten- or fifteen-minute slots should be more than enough time to place an order and receive their food. For anybody looking to sit in the café, separate seating reservations may be required for longer dwell times. This measure will significantly help in “thinning out” the lunch rush.
- Anti-microbial keys: I personally think this is a must for everybody working in an office. Anti-microbial keys are typically made of brass because of its inherent antibacterial and antiviral properties. They will typically have touch-screen capabilities at one end so they can be used safely on shared screens for ordering at kiosk stations, mobile phones, or to sign credit card machines. Treat these like a second form of ID; all employees are required to have it on them at all times. Handed out to every employee upon their return to the office, these can effectively eliminate the need to touch germ-carrying surfaces in the café. You can check it out here: https://www.getkeysmart.com/products/cleankey
- Employee communication: It is not enough to institute one or all these measures without adequately explaining them to employees. People will undoubtedly be scared to return to their places of work; the best antidote for that fear is information. Introductory videos (imagine your on-boarding process) sent to employees the week before their return, “welcome back” gift baskets with the anti-microbial key and important guidelines for minimizing exposure, and large, conveniently placed signage throughout the building and cafeteria should all be under consideration.
- Phased menu development: The only thing we are certain of right now is that once businesses start to re-open, it will happen in phases. It makes sense to alter menu offerings and service style based on this approach. Obviously, during the initial re-opening period, grab and go and pre-packaged offerings will be a stronger choice as opposed to self-service buffets.
- Design: If a salad bar is the main focal point of your café, start talking with your food service partner about alternate uses for this real estate. Perhaps this space can become a holding area for pre-ordered lunches, maybe the café doesn’t open completely, but a table is set up at the front doors so that guests can come by and pick up their completed orders.
- Integrated health & wellness apps: Several companies make comprehensive health and wellness apps that can track and notify managers if employees display potential symptoms or fevers. Coupled with manual temperature checks at the beginning of every day, it can help food service managers determine who is able to work and interact with customers and who should be sent home. You can check out an example of this here: https://harri.com/.
This short list is just a few of the many possible solutions being considered by offices that are getting ready to open their doors in the coming weeks. The most important factor in reopening employee cafeterias is communication with your food service partner. Sharing ideas, potential best practices and logistical challenges with each other before service resumes will help minimize risks and foresee logistical challenges before they occur. The reopening of offices and food service programs may get off to a rocky start, but a concerted effort to implement meaningful changes by both parties will reflect in employee’s gradual willingness to eat at the café once again. It may not have the hustle and bustle it once did in the pre-COVID era, but it will remain an important amenity in office life nationwide.
For more information about how peer organizations are preparing to re-open their corporate cafeterias, use the link below to join JGL on May 18, 2020 at 1pm for “The Next Normal – Strategies for Re-Opening Your Café”. Space will be limited so sign up ASAP!
The role of technology in the hospitality industry has been hotly contested for some time. While inventory and data management systems have become commonplace because of their ability to quickly and easily cross reference disparate sources of information, other technologies that could potentially take the place of human workers have seen slower adoption rates; however, a confluence of events over the past several years has led to changing attitudes around technology solutions.
The most significant shift in attitude has come as a result of people’s overall comfort with ordering food and beverage through apps and online, mostly for home delivery. As $15 minimum wage initiatives began to sweep across the country and large markets such as San Francisco lurched into an industry labor crisis, business owners turned to tech in an effort to decrease labor costs and improve efficiency. In recent years, various sectors of business have increasingly embraced technology as a way to help speed service in food outlets while increasing customization, participation, and even promote health tracking initiatives. Looking to the future, industry insiders and many of JGL’s clients have already started to discuss the “new normal” and what role contactless technologies will play when social distancing is relaxed and outlets reopen.
In this blog, we will lay out some of the most common guest facing technologies currently in use across multiple business sectors, as well as some up and coming initiatives that JGL is particularly excited about. There are also many interesting back of house and sustainability focused initiatives in the works, but alas, those are for another blog.
There are a handful of technologies that are now commonplace, especially in both the B&I and Cultural markets. These are the systems that you should have in operation now if your campus has an F&B program which services anywhere upwards of 100 guests per day. You should have a website with separate pages dedicated for both retail food and catering. Your F&B provider should ideally control these pages and be responsible for updating them regularly. These pages should be easy to find from the site’s primary landing page. Café and catering menus should always be up to date, and event rental pages should feature professional photos of events in progress, as well as information such as dimensions of spaces, amenities, and capacity limits. Many Operators, especially those who specialize in B&I, have also built proprietary health and wellness interconnectivity between their online systems and culinary operations, including nutritional data and meal planning, educational tools, habit training programs, and even access to company dieticians.
Digital signage has also become universal in both B&I and Cultural accounts. Digital signage is frequently tied into a central computer system so that it can be updated easily on a daily basis, though systems that work over Wi-Fi or even with a flash drive are also prevalent. In addition to aesthetic benefits, digital signage reduces service times by helping guests to make decisions before they get to the front of the line.
Desktop and app-based pre-order options are quite customary and becoming more so every day. Patrons will place and pay for their orders on their computers or phones, then pick them up from a pre-determined location to avoid long wait times. While there are many cultural institutions which use pre-order for guests, they are particularly popular with staff populations across all sectors of business. Self-order kiosks and self-pay stations are becoming popular as a way to reduce labor costs and/or to supplement traditional cashiers during peak visitation times. Guests typically either order their food from the kiosk and pick it up when a digital sign tells them it is ready, or in some cases, they take a number to display on their table and their order is brought to them, though this scenario can require significantly more labor needs on the part of the Operator and therefore higher costs.
These systems are the base level of current tech offerings and most Operators should be utilizing them now. If yours is not, you should talk with them about the benefits of investing in such systems or pursue such investment in your next RFP process.
Now we look at some systems which are currently in circulation but are far less prevalent and perhaps only applicable in specific situations.
In some high-volume locations such as science museums, enterprising Operators are utilizing tray scanning technology. A guest moves through the line and places their selected items on a tray, then places the tray under a self-checkout device which scans the entire tray at once and charges the guest accordingly, significantly decreasing checkout time and through put of the servery.
An issue common to many of our client’s B&I call centers is that employees commonly have only 30-minute lunch breaks and limited budgets, so they don’t have the time or financial resources to order take-out or wait in a busy café line. Some locations are currently running pilot programs using food locker systems placed strategically around office buildings. Employees can pre-order their meal and when their break begins, go to a locker number which they have been given, enter a code and retrieve their meal. Another system in testing for these offices uses a refrigerated case which has pressure sensitive pads under each item, similar to a hotel mini bar. Items are stocked and an employee scans their badge or enters a code to open the unit, then is charged for whatever is removed. Unlike traditional vending machines, such a system has the expanded capability to offer freshly made, temperature controlled full meals.
Even for more traditional vending options, new technologies are enhancing guest experience. Electronic sensors monitor inventory and send a notification to restock the machine before items run out. Many machines can also display nutritional information.
I for one welcome our robot overlords, especially when they make me lunch. Robot vending is starting to make its way into accounts with customizable salad or liquid nitrogen ice cream making machines in relatively wide circulation. Proprietary systems that roast, grind and brew coffee one cup at a time are in use, while the utilization of robot food delivery drones is becoming more common on college campuses. Food grade 3D printing is also being used in select locations, from 3D sugar sculptures used as garnish to pancakes in the shape of dinosaurs. I just want to say that one more time. Dinosaur pancakes are a thing.
Now we look ahead to what could be the next big tech developments in F&B. One of the biggest hurdles faced by many Cultural institutions, which are notoriously averse to copious signage, is wayfinding. JGL often recommends that cafes are placed as close to the front entrance of a new building as possible so that they have maximum visibility. Food service outlets located deeper within a structure often suffer from lack of foot traffic and little or no directional signage guiding guests to them. The more expansive the building, the bigger a problem this can be, especially at botanical gardens and large museums with confusing layouts. Several tech firms are currently working on GPS based systems which will allow patrons to use turn by turn directions on their phones to locate outlets within larger structures. Such systems will, hopefully, eventually be integrated into the organization’s proprietary app so that a guest could open the app, search for dining options, then be led directly to the outlet with GPS directions. Though JGL is aware of several such systems in development, we have not seen any in use at this time.
One of the most exciting examples of burgeoning foodservice-oriented tech that JGL has seen revolves around RFID technology which uses radio waves to track tagged items. We have seen a very limited application of hybrid-service models where a guest orders from a counter and is given a small plastic RFID tag, then is free to seat themselves anywhere in the designated seating area. RFID readers mounted in the ceiling display on the server’s screen where in the room each RFID tag is located so that the server can find each guest quickly and easily, even if they move around several times. An even more ambitious version of this system is also in development involving kiosk ordering. With this version, the RFID tag is printed on the guest’s receipt, so no plastic tag is necessary. This technology has the potential to embrace the benefit of cooking and delivering food to order without the dramatic increase in staff necessary for the traditional model of constantly circling a seating area looking for plastic number signs.
When food and beverage operations come back online, they will face a brand-new set of challenges. The traditional pressures of moving people through food outlets quickly while delivering quality offerings will compound with new challenges of trying to do all of this with minimal intrapersonal contact. Existing and new technologies are likely to be part of the solution to these issues. If you, like many of our clients, are feeling overwhelmed trying to formulate a comprehensive new food and beverage strategy before your facility reopens, we are hard at work and ready to help.
New to the work-from-home culture? Or maybe you are a work-from-home pro but are suddenly distracted by all of your friends now working remotely, or simply by the daily breaking news. Either way, working from home can be a lot sometimes. When I tell people I work from home, most people ask, “Isn’t it hard to focus and get motivated?” Personally, I have found the opposite. I have been working remotely for a little over a year now and, one by one, I noticed some do’s and don’ts to focus on. I hope you find these tips helpful in keeping you energized and efficient during your workday.
• Set an alarm and get up at the same time every day. Routine is key!
• Get dressed! It’s easy to lounge around in your pajamas all day…and hey, sometimes you need that, and that’s okay! But make a point to start your day like you always have. Take pride in yourself and throw on some clothes.
• Don’t turn on the TV. If you don’t watch television in the office, don’t watch television while you’re working from home. Stay focused and on track.
• Give yourself a lunch break. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember to eat because I get so laser focused on work. Set a daily alarm or calendar reminder and step away from your computer. Your brain needs nourishment to be at its best…plus, you’ll get your steps in!
• I cannot stress communication enough. Schedule daily check-ins with your colleagues (I would even suggest a phone call or virtual meeting over email check-ins). It’s good to discuss what projects you’re working on, progress and deadlines (or anything else you’re comfortable with, even if it’s not entirely work related). Trust me; if you’re over communicating, you’re doing it right. Working remotely does not mean cutting off all human interaction, just like social distancing does not mean social isolation. You no longer have those water cooler discussions or quick coffee runs from the office, so let your social side out with a phone call!
• Deadlines; you didn’t like them before and they are no different now. Working in another location, in this case at home, does not make deadlines any less real. Set them, meet them, conquer them. Someone is relying on you to complete your work, so don’t let them down!
• Last, and perhaps most importantly, respect the end of your workday. You no longer have a change in location to cue your work brain to shut down for the day. It’s easy to keep that computer open and keep going. Don’t. Make a conscious decision to shut down at the same time every day (I told you routine is important) and transition into your personal time. There may not be a physical shift in location, but for your mental well-being, let there be a mental shift and keep your work life and home life independent of one another.
These may seem simple and obvious, but keeping a routine is truly important. Routines not only keep a level of consistency for your work but can also be an added sense of comfort. It can be a slippery slope if you start frequently straying from your daily routine. We’re not talking about working late one night here or there, but regularly letting work consume you because it is so accessible or conversely, allowing yourself to be distracted by your familiar surroundings and missing deadlines or letting the quality of your work slip. So settle in, find a work-life balance routine that works for you, and take comfort that you are not alone in figuring all of this out. Take care and be well.
The 21st century has seen increased awareness of and efforts to be more environmentally focused as we begin to see the effects of global warming. The restaurant and culinary worlds are slowly beginning to transform as well, as new demands are put on the global food supply and customers increasingly demand ethically sourced food. One of the trends that has emerged over the past several years is the plant-forward diet; not vegan or vegetarian, but simply rethinking what is the centerpiece of a person’s plate. At first glance, this seems to be a catch-all diet for the 21st century; vegetables and fruits will become the mainstay of the population’s meal while the meat-eaters are placated with (albeit smaller) servings of their favorite animal proteins. I recently visited a plant-forward restaurant in Manhattan, 232 Bleecker, that opened only a few months ago. During my visit, I couldn’t help but compare it to my experience as a café manager at a large tech firm in Manhattan.
My initial exposure to plant-forward thinking at the foodservice management company’s account in Manhattan started on my very first day during orientation. It became very clear that plant-based eating and general healthy eating was the cornerstone of the firm’s culinary vision. Suggestive marketing tactics were one of the most subtle but effective strategies employed by the firm; instead of not carrying Coke, for instance, they simply put it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerators which had deliberately frosted glass from the waist down to block your line of sight. You could grab a ribeye steak if you wanted, but you first had to pass the custom salad bar (which was amazing), sandwich shop, and various other plant-based rotating stations. We deliberately stocked smaller plates beside the plancha and rotisserie stations to encourage customers to go and get a bigger plate of salad or veggie stir-fry nearby. For many of the firm’s employees, this was their first experience with plant-forward eating and they didn’t even realize it. Offering the customer the choice to have that Coke, or that steak, while subtly encouraging them to make healthier decisions made it feel like an organic process rather than a chore or a forced habit. But what happened when that employee left the office and cooked at home on Wednesday night, or was looking for new restaurants to explore on the weekends? I wasn’t so sure the employer’s marketing tactics made an impact on their eating habits and choices.
My recent visit to 232 Bleecker, a thinly disguised night out which I called “market research” was a completely different experience compared to my time as a café manager. Whereas the tech firm employees merely had the option to eat a plant-based diet, diners at 232 Bleecker most likely chose the restaurant specifically for Chef Cupps’ plant-forward ethos. I confess that I am a meat-lover and occasionally asked for that extra piece of salmon while I was a café manager. But the presentation of the menu items at 232 Bleecker looked just as appetizing as any filet or steak that I’ve ever seen. The vibrant colors and textures of different ingredients continually impressed me with each dish. I sat there thinking, “OK, I get it.” Instead of giving diners the option to drink Coke and eat a steak, 232 Bleecker was able to rely on the sheer attractiveness and flavors of its dishes; every diner immediately recognized they were eating at a plant-forward restaurant, unlike the tech firm’s dining program. Despite my wonderful experience, I couldn’t help but think of how few people are exposed to this restaurant. 232 Bleecker is one of very few plant-forward restaurants in the city and it only opened its doors in 2019. Combine the small seating capacity and relatively pricey menu, and it suddenly becomes a relatively exclusive experience. 232 Bleecker gave its diners an excellent look at plant-forward diets, but it couldn’t reach the same amount of people as the huge tech firm could.
After my visit to 232 Bleecker, I began looking into the plant-forward eating throughout the national culinary scene. What I found was encouraging; well-known restaurateur Jose Andres has opened his sixth location of the plant-forward fast-casual concept Beefsteak in Chicago, while other renowned chefs such as Amanda Cohen at Dirt Candy, Dan Barber at Blue Hill, and Kyle & Katina Connaughton at SingleThread continue to make names for themselves and bring awareness to various aspects of plant-forward eating. Although my experience as a café manager for a Manhattan tech firm and my night out at 232 Bleecker were extremely different with respect to plant-forward eating, I believe their two approaches are complimentary to one another. The tech firm is able to reach a huge crowd that would otherwise congregate for lunch at the numerous food trucks (none of which are remotely healthy or environmentally friendly) dotted throughout Manhattan. However, the subtleties of their plant-forward program may not be enough to change their employee’s eating habits when they leave work. That is where the 232 Bleeckers and Beefsteaks and Blue Hills come in; a radically different approach that makes people realize plant-forward diets can and should be a conscious decision.
It’s a new year and a new decade and that means that all your New Year’s resolutions are likely well underway! Whether you have vowed to lose weight, live cleaner, or save more money, chances are that your carefully selected resolutions were chosen to better yourself. Cultures across the globe make strides to better themselves physically, mentally and emotionally every year, though only a small percentage keeps their New Year’s resolutions. Why is that?
Well, let’s start with asking how the “New Year’s resolution” came to be. Did you know that the tradition was originally rooted in religious practices and can be traced all the way back to Babylon over 4,000 years ago?! The Ancient Babylonians celebrated their New Year in March based on the start of the crop season. The ritual continued for another 2,000 years before landing in the Roman Empire, where January 1st was established as the start of the New Year (named for the god, Janus who looked to the past and the future). Many ancient resolutions would include promises or offerings (even sacrifices) to the gods to substantiate their resolutions in return for good fortune and a favorable crop season. The jump to the Western world was still reflective of many of these same ideas (minus the sacrifices) but with the idea of focusing on poor habits and making efforts to improve upon them within the church and community. While we no longer use our resolutions to pay homage to the gods in return for survival, the continuing tradition is still close to its origins.
Perhaps the old-world cultures were on to something. It seems that resolutions have gone from benefitting the greater good of the village or congregation to focusing on personal improvement. However, studies have shown that it is easier to make a long-lasting change if someone or something else is relying on you to maintain it.
If you are a business owner, consider starting a companywide New Year’s resolution. So many of the companies that JGL works with have taken major strides over the past several years to be more sustainable, purchase local, and give back to the community. These initiatives may have started as a simple idea, or resolution if you will, but they have the power to make a very pronounced difference. This line of thinking is becoming a sought-after proposed value-add. Many JGL clients look for these types of efforts when choosing a partner.
JGL’s 2020 resolution is for each team member to be a part of at least one community service project a year. We are hoping that sacrificing a little bit of our personal time will result in the gods offering bountiful crops to our friends in the food service industry!
There’s no time like the present to start a resolution- or expand on the great initiatives you already have! Be the change you want to be and make 2020 the best year yet!
This has been a very exciting year for JGL. In addition to having the opportunity to work with many new clients throughout 2019, JGL has….
1. Added two new team members to the JGL family
2. Successfully placed a food truck concept into a Museum setting
3. Won the bid for consulting services for the largest convention center in the country
4. Helped a client reduce their subsidy by $600,000 (the largest reduction in JGL history)
5. Crushed the Chicago Market with five new accounts in 12 months
6. Survived a culinary escape room during the first ever JGL team retreat
7. Tracy Lawler, President of JGL became a published author! https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538112984/Sustainable-Revenue-for-Museums-A-Guide
As we transition from one year to the next, we thought it would be fun to look back and reflect upon all that our team has accomplished. We are so very grateful to all our clients for their continued support and faith in our abilities to help them accomplish their food service goals.
We can’t wait to see what 2020 has on the horizon for JGL!
New to the JGL Client List in 2019:
• Arkansas Arts Center
• Cary Park
• Comic-Con Museum
• Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
• Corporation of Fine Arts Museums San Francisco
• Edmonds Senior Center
• Goodspeed Opera
• Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association
• Greenwich Library
• Harvard Art Reparatory Theater
• Joslyn Art Museum
• LG Electronics
• Major League Baseball
• Memorial Art Gallery (University of Rochester)
• Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Inc.
• Metropolitan Pier Exposition Authority
• Mote Marine Laboratory
• Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
• New York Consolidated
• National Museum of Jewish Heritage
• Obama Presidential Center
• Shedd Aquarium
• The Strong National Museum of Play
• Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
New to the JGL Team in 2019:
Colleen Geyer – Colleen Geyer joined the JGL team in early 2019. She has over a dozen years of experience in the food and beverage industry, with nearly half of that time focused in arts management. Click here to read Colleen’s full bio:http://jglconsultants.com/team/colleen-geyer/
Connor Leahy – Connor is the newest associate on the JGL team. Connor recently completed the Restaurant Associates Manager in Training (MIT) program and served as Café Manager for Google in NYC. Connor joined the JGL team full time in August of 2019. Click here to read Connor’s full bio: http://jglconsultants.com/team/connor-leahy/
Baby Boy McCallum – The newest member of the JGL team will be baby boy McCallum!!! He is expected to arrive on December 26, 2019, but he might just decide to wait for 2020! Congratulations to David and Michelle!
Whether you’re an aspiring chef or don’t know the difference between brie and brioche, you probably love Thanksgiving. It’s a time to gather around the table with your family, share great food, and be thankful for all that has happened over the past year. I have fond memories of catching up with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins as we listened to music, looked at pictures from recent vacations, watched the National Dog Show (we’re animal lovers, what can I say), and talked about college and my recent move to Hoboken.
Here at the JGL family, we have a number of things to be thankful for. Two new members have joined the JGL team full-time and we have reached major financial milestones we never thought possible. Despite this growth, we continue to deliver the same excellent product that we expect from ourselves and our clients deserve. But while we love what we do, the entire JGL team will be taking a well deserved break for Thanksgiving Day, and we hope you will as well!
But before we go, we thought it would be fun to share some not-so-common facts about Thanksgiving. We all have seen the Allstate commercial telling us how thousands of in-laws drive through their son’s garage doors, or how hundreds call the fire department on a flaming hot turkey, but what about the less obvious Thanksgiving trivia? If you want to impress your family with what you’ve learned this year, be sure to mention some of these facts around the dinner table this Thursday!
TV Dinners came about in 1953 when Swanson, a large meat-packing company had left-over Turkey from Thanksgiving. They didn’t want to waste it, so they packaged it with mashed potatoes and sweet peas. Voila, the TV dinner was born!
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in 1924. The main feature of this parade? Live animals from Central Park Zoo.
If it were up to Benjamin Franklin, the turkey would be our national bird, not the bald eagle.
Writer Sarah Josepha Hale is credited with convincing Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She is also credited the song “Mary Had A Little Lamb”.
Turkey trotters in Dallas set a Guinness World Record for the most people dressed up as turkeys; 661 runners took part in the YMCA event in 2011!
Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving and has similar traditions of eating turkey and watching sports, but they celebrate the holiday on a different day and for a different reason. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in remembrance of English explorer Martin Frobisher’s successful voyage to Canada in 1578. It is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
Plumbers love Thanksgiving. Or perhaps we should say, the day AFTER Thanksgiving. More drains, garbage disposals and toilets needs to be unclogged the day after Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.
While turkey may have been present at the first Thanksgiving celebration, the main star of the show was seafood. Because Plymouth was a coastal colony, the Pilgrims brought their daily catch to the celebrations.
Besides America and Canada, Thanksgiving is also celebrated on the tiny Norfolk Island off the coast of Australia. American whaling ships passing through the area brought the tradition to the locals, and it has stuck around ever since!
The term “Black Friday” was originally coined by the Philadelphia Police in 1966 to dissuade shoppers from going out and further clogging the streets while the annual Army-Navy game was played.
By: Connor Leahy