Tag Archives: food service

Diversity in the Workplace: Observing Lent

February 14 in 2018 was not only Valentine’s Day, but it was also Ash Wednesday, the day in the Christian tradition that signals the beginning of Lent. Representing the 40 days that Jesus wandered in the wilderness, Lent is the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday that is a time of reflection, prayer, and sacrifice: sacrifice that many Christians observe by eliminating meat for the duration of Lent, especially on Fridays.

Observing Lent

From a food-service perspective, it’s important to provide a greater variety of non-meat options during Lent. In particular, many observant Christians eat significantly more fish during Lent than any other time in the year. According to Gordon Food Service:

  • 26 percent of consumers say they observe Lent.
  • 20 percent of adults say they eat more seafood during Lent.
  • 41 percent say they eat fish instead of meat on Fridays.
  • Seafood sales can surge more than 20 percent during Lent.
  • On Fridays, seafood sales can surge up to 50 percent (as compared to non-Lent Fridays).

Lent is actually responsible for one of McDonald’s most iconic menu items: the Filet-O-Fish sandwich. The Filet-O-Fish was the 1962 brainchild of an early McDonald’s franchisee, Lou Groen, in Cincinnati who saw sales plummet during Lent in an area that was 87 percent Catholic at the time. Despite McDonald’s founder Roy Kroc’s misgivings, Groen introduced the Filet-O-Fish on Good Friday, and it was an instant hit. The Filet-O-Fish remains a Lent menu special to this day, with many people dubbing this the “Filet-O-Fish season.”

To increase your Lenten offerings, fried fish and shrimp are always popular choices. However, since many people are also seeking a more healthful diet, it’s a good idea to offer some baked, steamed, and grilled options as well. Services like USConnect’s fresh food vending or Bistro To Go!™ micro markets offer choices like tuna sandwiches or wraps, smoked salmon, or shrimp salad. Options like these can help people stay healthy and observe Lent at the same time.

USConnect Reaches Milestone

We’re growing!

USConnect now has over 40 affiliate members serving 100 U.S. metropolitan areas.

“The affiliate coverage area is vital for USConnect’s success; we want to provide a consistent, employee-focused, connected level of service for national accounts,” says Jeff Whitacre, CEO. “Our national account program is so effective because employers see significant value in making vending, food service, and micro markets an extension of their employee benefits.”


The USConnect family of affiliates provides employee services via a connected network of vending machines, food service, and micro markets as well as providing cashless convenience, loyalty, and promotional services via the proprietary USConnect OneCard. The USConnect OneCard also allows for instant refunds to its customers and detailed reporting to manufacturers.

Jeffrey Lee, General Manager of Kinney Vending, a company that recently signed with USConnect, states, “We are an independent, family-owned business guided by our family values for three generations. We are looking to compete in a market of giants who do not hold the same values. USConnect has given us the competitive advantage we need by allowing us to connect with other businesses that share the same values while still allowing us to maintain our independence.”

USConnect has been conducting regional sales and operational seminars to educate the affiliates on the plethora of services provided. Seminars are scheduled for Cincinnati, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and San Diego. To find out more about these seminars, visit www.usconnect.biz.

USConnect plans to complete its affiliate network expansion by mid-2016.