Military partners with industry to improve food service

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — Food innovation and customer service were key elements of discussion at the 2018 Armed Forces Food and Beverage Training Workshop that took place Aug. 6-10 in San Antonio, Texas.

Military and civilian hospitality professionals from around the world met to discuss healthier meal options, training opportunities, challenges and innovation.

“Each day our food and beverage service professionals strive to increase the readiness and resiliency of our armed forces and they’re a vital link to accomplishing the mission,” said Col. Donna Turner, commander of Air Force Services Activity, a subordinate unit of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center.

Throughout the week, attendees participated in discussions and hands-on-training with military and civilian subject matter experts; received presentations from leaders in their field; and ended the week with an industry trade show hosted by the International Military Community Executives’ Association, a non-profit organization with participation from the National Restaurant Association.

Partnerships with organizations such as the National Restaurant Association and its educational foundation are significant to the military, ensuring standards are not only met but exceeded throughout the military hospitality industry, said Jim Krueger, chief Air Force Food & Beverage, Policy, Procedures and Strategic Initiatives at AFSVA.

“For more than 60 years the military has been partnering with the National Restaurant Association and the benefits we receive such as training and mentorship are critical to helping us ensure our mission is a success,” Krueger said.

Master Sgt. Jennifer Bartow, section chief for food operations at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, said it’s helpful to see the latest trends from industry and to take that information back to installations to better serve customers.

“There’s so much more collaboration, opportunities and growth for our Airmen,” she said.

Carl Kendall, food service program assistant manager at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, said the partnership opportunity provides a great benefit to the military.

“The networking aspect is important and being able to reach out to other colleagues helps industry professionals, like myself, provide better service to our customers,” said Carl Kendall, “The military shares the same standards with civilian industry. We deal with similar challenges.”

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