Creating an appealing serving space is critical for K-12 school nutrition directors as those spaces can directly impact how many students buy a school lunch. Like everyone, students eat with their eyes first, and when serving lines are boring and sterile, they can most certainly impact the number of lunches purchased.
Long gone are the days when just a few simple menu options will cut it. Today’s students are more foodservice savvy, and today’s school cafeterias look more like quick serve restaurants and food courts than the stainless steel serving lines many of us waited in as kids.
So what changes can be made without overwhelming a school nutrition program’s budget? Let’s spend a few minutes talking about LTI, one of the leaders of K-12 foodservice serving solutions.
Changing How Food Is Served, and How It’s Perceived by Students
There are a few main goals when it comes to developing a successful foodservice line in K-12 school cafeterias. The first is appearance. When directors reset the appearance of the cafeteria, it can entice students to participate by purchasing lunches. This can include school colors and add school spirit. It can advertise cuisine types such as taco stations, pizza concepts, and salad bars. And it can simply make things brighter and more appealing than dull stainless steel.
One of the biggest complaints from any school kid, whether in high school or elementary school, is the time they have to eat. When someone only has 20 to 25 minutes to eat a full meal that means any time spent in line will cut into dining time.
If lines are long, this can leave students with 15 minutes or less to eat an entire meal. This is not healthy, and it’s not fun. Lunch should be relaxing and enjoyable, not stressful and rushed. Serving lines that move quickly will reduce the desire for kids to bring lunch from home.
The reality is it doesn’t cost a fortune, nor does it require directors to completely overhaul their original concepts. Small changes can go a long way to creating larger changes within the operation. That’s where serving counters from LTI can help. Known as the industry leader of food serving stations for school cafeterias, LTI is affordable, boosts participation, and it can make staff more efficient.
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