Food Management Digizine - Q1 2023

who have deemed it necessary and important to offer free meals to all kids!). Our students are demanded so many things – early start times, practice after school, part-time jobs, college-credit courses – and they need food to sustain their energy and brain power throughout the day. Outside of school, kids are introduced to so many different options. You want Mexican food? Cool, that’s down the street. You want Thai? We’ve got that too. You want a cheeseburger? Here’s a list of 25 restaurants in the area that offer that option. If they’re lucky enough to have mom and/or dad home at dinner time, do they have the time to cook or the money to buy food? A lot of our kids aren’t even used to home cooking anymore. All of this leaves us guessing, calculating, and trying anything necessary to get kids in the door.

“We have started serving authentic cuisines

know and love it.

and the students

This is what I We’ve attracted more people who are saying one of two things: 1. 2. eat at home;

Thank you for making a real meal for me.”

not, my friends. Those are not authentically south of anything past our US border. I live in Northeast Wisconsin and our students know better than that. We have started serving authentic cuisines

“Made to order” orange chicken bar

Hispanic heritage month featured meal

and the students know and love it. We’ve attracted more people who are saying one of two things: 1. This is what I eat at home; or 2. Thank you for making a real meal for me. Utilize bars You want to spice up your menu? How about trying a new layout with your salad bar or steam table line? Don’t just have spaghetti; have 2 types of pasta, 2-3 sauces, and different toppings for the kids. Put different sauces on chicken wings. We eat with our eyes first. Remember this!

Here are some of the hot tips & tricks I’ve found to get the kids in our doors:

Variety is the spice of life Especially in the older grades, offering a second, third, or even eighth choice is not only encouraged but expected. Students want the opportunity to pick what they want to eat for lunch. If they have the choice to leave campus, we need to offer them choices not to. Kids are more adventurous than you’d think Obviously, our most popular count days are things like chicken nuggets and pizza in our elementary schools, but we’ve been trying some new things that are encouraging as well: mandarin orange chicken, egg rolls, carne asada meat, etc. The most important thing is to not give up after the first menu day. Authentic food matters My pet peeve as a food service director is when we call American tacos “south of the border.” Absolutely

Salad bars & fresh fruit bars encourage taste expansion

Talk with the kids I cannot stress this enough!! How can you know what your customer base is looking for without talking to them? I eat lunch with the elementary kids about 3 times per week, and make sure to mosey around the older kids, who don’t love for you to eat lunch at their table. If they give you an idea, work hard to get it on


Powered by