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.
A big part of solving school nutrition problems is finding the right equipment to meet those challenges in an efficient and affordable way. So let's take a look at why foodservice equipment matters in K-12 school cafeterias:
INCREASE MENU CAPABILITIES
Even with limited funding and space, the right arrangement of school foodservice equipment can increase menu variety and quality. Now more than ever, the younger demographics are looking for more choice when it comes to food, and oftentimes this requires additional cooking processes.
When you add variety and quality to your menu, you increase student participation. And for schools that allow off-campus dining, having a variety of tasty options will keep students on campus under the watchful supervision of teachers and staff.
PROMOTE NUTRITION AND WELLNESS
With changing regulations in school nutrition programs from Minnesota to Missouri, schools are required to provide options that are healthier than ever before. Instead of overusing fryers, for example, healthier preparation choices are steaming, baking, or roasting. The versatility and capabilities of foodservice equipment obviously play a role here.
HELP WITH SAFETY CONCERNS
The number one goal of any school nutrition program is to create a safe and secure dining environment. This means foods must be cooked properly, held at ideal conditions, and served in ways that meet all safety and sanitation guidelines.
MEET GUIDELINES AND BUDGETS
This is a big one. A K-12 school cafeteria needs to make students happy, increase their participation, provide healthy and safe food, all while staying within the guidelines and allotted budgets of district, state, and even federal requirements. This is when selecting the right equipment to meet school nutrition challenges is even more important. Start here:
A school nutrition assessment can help directors answer a whole range of challenges, or check out the Montague K-12 Cooking Guide to review some of these challenges and solutions on your own.