They came from all sorts of foodservice operations—restaurants, colleges, c-stores, retirement communities and military bases—to combat hunger in America by showing how collaboration could feed the disadvantaged. An hour later, the attendees of the FARE Conference in Dallas had smashed a Guinness world record by producing 39,303 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for charitable organizations. For the math-challenged: That’s 650 sandwiches a minute, or more than 10 per second.
The event was pulled together by Which Wich and its founder and official chief vibe officer, Jeff Sinelli. The goal was to address hunger by turning the 1,100 attendees of the conference, an educational event for foodservice professionals across all channels, into smearers, baggers, labelers and box packers. Participants broke into assembly-line teams on either side of long prep tables. For an hour, they frantically cranked out PBJs while music blared and trash talk was hurled from one table to another. Peanut butter and jelly similarly flew through the air.
Finally, after a frantic last-minute burst of sandwich prep, an official dispatched by the Guinness Book of World Records tallied the group’s production, somberly counting each table’s output before taking the stage to reveal if a record was broken. The threshold to beat, he explained, looking at his clipboard with a furrowed brow, was 37,000 sandwiches.
The output of the FARE volunteers: a new record exceeding the old by more than 2,000 sandwiches.
The place erupted into whoops, high fives and hugs. Sinelli all but levitated in his delight for what the group had done to call attention to hunger and make a significant donation to food banks in the area.
Here’s a closer look at the action, sans any chance of being hit with flying peanut butter or jelly.
FARE—technicaly, Food at Retail Establishments—is presented by Winsight, the parent company of Restaurant Business. It is presented in collaboration between the magazine and its sister publications, FoodService Director and CSP.
The Guinness monitor (center) announces that the crowd had smashed the record.