July/August 2021
How Potato University can help foodservice operators succeed beyond menu By Kendra Keenan, Potatoes USA

One of the keys to success in a foodservice operation is understanding the importance and benefits of using versatile ingredients across the menu. Chefs know the economic advantages of versatile ingredients and how they help with menu variety. However, operators may, at times, feel burnt out when it comes to recipe inspiration or finding new ways to use an ingredient to its fullest potential.

Potatoes, perfect across every menu and daypart, offer various benefits — they are nutrient-dense, economic, crave-able and more. Potatoes USA kicked off 2021 by launching Potato University, a complimentary, online curriculum designed for foodservice professionals interested in exploring new and creative ways to incorporate all types of potatoes on menus. While initially designed for foodservice professionals who are already in the field, anyone interested in learning more about U.S. potatoes can take this self-paced course to gain valuable potato insights.

The first course available at Potato University is Potatoes 101. The course includes ten modules covering farm-to-fork education on the potato basics, such as U.S. potato growing and harvesting practices, the seven fresh potato types, potato formats (fresh, frozen, dehydrated), and how best to store potatoes. There are also modules on preparation and handling techniques, potato nutrition, and current menu trends at foodservice. The knowledge gained from these classes will help operators make the most of using potatoes in their facilities, streamline prep, and expand menu variety with minimal effort.

The learning platform encourages friendly competition by awarding points for various interactions to keep students engaged and redeemed for potato gear!

Beyond increasing potato knowledge and earning rewards, foodservice professionals can also complete the course for continuing education (C.E.) hours ― certified by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and Research Chefs Association (RCA). With limited opportunities to gather C.E. hours from in-person sessions at trade events, these credits from the top foodservice industry organizations demonstrate the program’s value.

Students come from various areas of the food industry, including volume restaurant chains, restaurant groups, universities, catering, broadline distributors, food contract management companies, culinary school programs, potato industry organizations and retailers. 

Some of the top organizations registered are: Applebee’s, Levy Restaurants, Front Burner Restaurants, Royal Caribbean Group, Hyatt, Sheraton, Aramark, Sysco, Sodexo, Ben E. Keith, Michigan Dining, Oregon State University, Live Oaks Culinary Program, Safeway and many more.

Potato University is promoted to foodservice audiences through several media partners, including FSRmagazine.com, PlateMagazine.com, Restaurant Business online and shared across social media @Spuds4Chefs, Facebook and Instagram. In addition to the promotion on these platforms, we encourage your companies to share Potato University with your foodservice network.

Potatoes USA will continue to develop content that showcases intermediate and advanced level potato techniques for foodservice operators, such as batch cooking for high-volume operations. Additional courses will highlight specialized topics using subject matter experts, including potatoes on pizza and grilling and smoking potatoes.

To learn more about Potato University, visit PotatoUniversity.com.

 — Kendra Keenan is the global marketing manager for foodservice for Potatoes USA, the marketing arm of the U.S. potato industry.

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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