Fare Magazine Honors UMass Amherst Dining Services Director Ken Toong as Leader in Retail Foodservice


AMHERST, Mass. – Ken Toong, executive director of the award-winning dining services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named a Leader in Retail Foodservice by Fare magazine, a trade publication for nontraditional and retail foodservice channels.

“What you’ve done for the foodservice program at UMass is truly remarkable—from understanding and catering to the modern student’s needs to harnessing trends to simply making the program more profitable,” said Abbie Westra, executive editor of Fare. “Your unique takes on retail and quick-serve concepts, along with your overall commitment to the industry, make you a shoo-in as a Leader in Retail Foodservice.”

The award will be presented at the Foodservice at Retail Exchange (FARE) conference scheduled for June 28-30 in Chicago. During the conference, Toong and the other award recipients will participate in a panel discussion, “GOLD STANDARD: Insights from the Best in Channel.”

As an honoree, Toong will also be the focus of a one-page profile in the August issue of Fare.

For the past 11 years, Toong has been executive director of UMass dining services, the third largest campus dining operation in the country with 14,500 students on the meal plan and annual revenue of $60 million. More than 15 world cuisines are offered to 45,000 customers daily with a big focus on “Stealth Health.” In 2009, 25 percent of produce came from local farmers and UMass dining services serves only sustainable seafood.

During Toong’s tenure, UMass dining services has been the recipient of 18 national awards. Last year, he was named Food Service Director of the Year by FoodService Director magazine and one of the Faces of Massachusetts Agriculture. He is also the founder and chairman of the Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference for college culinary professionals, now in its 14th year.