Creating a successful school nutrition program in a K-12 school cafeteria is one of the most challenging tasks in all of foodservice. Here at Apex, we work with a whole range of foodservice operations, so we're certainly in a position to know. We also know that school nutrition challenges are solvable. Where there's a challenge, there's also an opportunity.
With the new school year just around the corner, there are a few small changes that school nutrition professionals can make to help increase efficiency on serving times, reduce product waste, and increase fun and participation levels for students.
Sometimes it's the little things that can make all the difference in a K-12 school nutrition program or a college or university foodservice operation. As it turns out, one of these 'little things' can be your choice in sheet pans.
We've discussed the trends before. School districts across the nation are serving healthier choices to their students. Freshness is a new buzzword. Alternative cooking methods are being implemented. And some schools are even growing and cooking their own foods. As fryers are being replaced, new equipment is needed to support efforts toward healthier cooking methods.
Whether it's a line cook or a school's nutrition director, school cafeteria personnel can change hands from year to year. This means recipes that are being used one semester might completely change the next because the people who cook them change. And with changes in recipes comes changes in equipment. Oftentimes a school cafeteria will have equipment and supplies that haven't been used in years. They sit around in storage closets taking up space just waiting to be used.
From one particular district near Minneapolis, Minnesota, that equipment turned out to be a collection of braising pans. Apex sent our corporate chef, Adam Klosterman, to the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis, and this is what happened: