As we're slowly reopening our schools and getting back to normal in the classroom, there are opportunities for upgrading our lunchrooms. No, we're not back to normal quite yet, nor is school lunch service what we're used to, but soon it will be, and there are ways you can be ready.
As we enter the post-Covid world of school nutrition, the same things will apply that mattered before the pandemic. Mainly, we need to make sure students are engaged and encouraged to participate in school lunch programs in order to make the entire system work.
UPGRADE YOUR SERVING LINES.
Your serving lines are the first things students encounter when they enter the cafeteria for lunch. This means it's an opportunity to provide a great first impression. If serving lines are unsightly or poorly-organized from an efficiency standpoint, they'll deter students from buying school lunches.
Before we eat, we eat with our eyes. Upgrading your school foodservice serving line is a great way to inject energy and spirit into your cafeteria, making the dining experience more appealing and drawing in more students. Serving lines are also important for promoting quality, keeping foods at the right temperature, which also ensures safety. Lastly, serving lines can also impact speed-of-service. When students are rushed through lunch periods as they are, making them wait longer for lunch is a quick way to turn them away.
Consider how important flexibility will be in school nutrition programs across the South. Serving lines equipped with food wells that can have multiple modes, like Duke's HotColdFreeze wells, which keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold or frozen, gives operators the ability to mix and match menus as needed, all in one unit. Students can essentially get their entire menu from one serving line, limiting the need to travel across the cafeteria to fill their trays.
UPGRADE YOUR OVENS.
School nutrition programs operate under a wide range of pressures. From food safety to nutrition regulations to shrinking budgets, success is largely restricted to how school nutrition directors manage these challenges.
Ovens are the lifeblood of school cafeteria kitchens, and they can also be a huge asset to meeting these demands. The right school cafeteria oven selection can help directors overcome labor challenges, delivery quality and nutrition, and ultimately help increase student participation.
A versatile school menu will lead to a successful school nutrition program. With an oven designed to not only maintain nutritional standards, but offer the ability to cook multiple menu items at once, your students will be served quicker and more frequently. Consider a Hydrovection oven from Blodgett that utilizes both heat and steam for your school. Using Helix technology, not only does it cook 30% faster, but it delivers more consistent results and higher yields than traditional convection and combi ovens.
UPGRADE YOUR ENTHUSIASM.
The easiest way to help upgrade your school nutrition service is to just consider the enthusiasm in which it's served. Ultimately, when things return to normal in a post-Covid world, there's an opportunity to change the way things were done in the past -- for the better.
Lunch can often be the most exciting, most anticipated, and most fun period of the school day. If this student enthusiasm is matched with an enthusiastic service, it will ultimately help increase student participation in foodservice.
PMR knows school foodservice. Schedule time with one of our experts today, and get a free school foodservice consultation to help you upgrade your service.