Success in School FOOD Service begins with…

Success in School FOOD Service begins with…

…The FOOD!

It can seem overwhelmingly complicated to figure out why your school food service program isn’t thriving. When you look closely at a struggling operation, you will quickly begin to see all kinds of things that need to be “fixed”. Many will become apparent with a cursory review of the financial reports, but it may not be quite so easy to identify what is at the “root” of the problems?

Start looking at everything that has to do with FOOD.

Anytime there are problems in a food service operation, it’s always a good idea to look at anything and everything to do with FOOD.

Because… it really is all about the FOOD. 

We all understand that budget is a really big deal but it’s so easy to get distracted from what the real focus should be…and that is the FOOD! First, plan your food choices carefully in the form of Cycle Menus. Then procure and manage the food carefully, because the quality of the ingredients matter. Next skillfully prepare and present the food in fresh and tasty ways. And then serve beautiful, delicious foods to your students with pride and a smile! But don’t keep it to yourself, proclaim your food-focused efforts to your community! Soon you will have a steady stream of happy customers who will make so many frustrations a thing of the past!

Focus on FOOD and Success will Follow!

Having a laser focus on everything to do with FOOD is guaranteed to set your program on the path to SUCCESS!

A Look at The Four Pillars of SUCCESS Can Help You Chart the Course

Pillar One: Serve More WHOLE FOODS if your SUCCESS goals are to:

  • Improve the beauty and nutrition of your meals
  • Increase participation
  • Build pride
  • Maximize commodity benefits

Pillar Two: Do More SCRATCH COOKING if your SUCCESS goals are to:

  • Serve fresh, tasty, healthier meals
  • Increase participation
  • Build staff confidence
  • Build staff competence

Pillar Three: Start a FARM TO SCHOOL program if your SUCCESS goals are to:

  • Learn how to buy local foods
  • Support your local farmers
  • Serve the freshest, highest quality foods
  • Increase program participation
  • Increase staff’s pride in their work

Pillar Four: Do some simple FOOD related MARKETING if your SUCCESS goals are to:  

  • to garner confidence and respect from stakeholders
  • to positively promote your program and district
  • to increase program participation

Do all of the above to ensure SUCCESS in Schools Food Service!

If any to this has resonated with you, I’d love to talk to you at your convenience and answer your questions!

Book a time to chat!

The “LIVE-SETTING” Approach™ to Culinary Skills Training

The “LIVE-SETTING” Approach™ to Culinary Skills Training

What is The “LIVE-SETTING” Approach

These trainings are scheduled during the regular live production day, and are completely customized to work with your equipment, in your environment, to meet your team’s most urgent training needs, all during live production. 

Keep earning valuable reimbursements while training your team during their normal work hours. No staff overtime or extra time required!

Results you can expect:

  • The kitchen team will learn to prepare an entire custom, scratch cooked, whole foods based, child nutrition compliant menu, that they will be equipped to reproduce the on their own in the future.
  • The menu can be designed to incorporate local foods to add the Farm to School element giving you something positive to promote in your learning community.
  • Learn to process, prepare and season whole foods so they look and taste great to kids.
  • Learn new ideas to utilize more whole, fresh foods in your menus that your kids will actually eat! 
  • How to process fruits and vegetables with a knife and other pieces of equipment for maximum efficiency.
  • Demystify sodium’s critical role in cooking and how to use it wisely in a school food environment to meet regs and make whole foods taste great!
  • Learn to maximize sodium’s benefit by incorporating other flavor builders such as acid, sweet, bitter and umami.

When is the best time to schedule:

“LIVE-SETTING” event are designed so you can train your team on any regular work day while school is in session. No need to wait for half or off-days.

Why choose “Live-Setting”: 

  • You want the freedom to schedule trainings anytime you want! No need to wait for half or off-days to train your people.
  • You want your team to learn foundational cooking skills that they will use everyday.
  • You want the satisfaction of seeing your team produce a beautiful, scratch cooked menu from start to finish then watch it served to real students. 
  • You want to continue collecting your valuable meal reimbursements while training. 
  • You don’t want to pay out any additional labor dollars to pay for extra time after regular work hours. Live-Setting trainings occur during the employees regular work day.
  • Because everything is customized to your operation to address your greatest training challenges.


Some advanced pre-planning plus the duration of an entire workday on the day of the “Live-Setting” event.


Your school kitchen of choice. These training are intended to be inserted into an established kitchen team’s regular work environment. 

More Details:

Here are some specific examples of this style of class:

Overview of the “Live-Setting” Approach 

Recap of an actual “Live-Setting” training

Focus on the FOOD FIRST and Success Will Follow!

Focus on the FOOD FIRST and Success Will Follow!

Here is an Ideal State to Work Towards if You’re Not Already There.

  • Everyday we make and serve beautiful, delicious foods!
  • Program participation levels are high because kids LOVE the food!
  • Program operates within budget.
  • We are always ready for the next audit.
  • Staff pride, competence, and confidence is high and is always improving.
  • Our parents, community, and other stakeholders are proud supporters of the work we’re doing because it’s inspiring!

Where do you have gaps in achieving a vision like this?

Remember, It’s All About the FOOD!

  1. Serve more WHOLE FOODS: Increase the use of whole foods and decrease the use of processed foods.
  2. Do more SCRATCH COOKING: Cook from scratch whenever possible.
  3. Start a FARM TO SCHOOL Program: Start procuring what you can locally, as much as you can.
  4. Do a little MARKETING: Shout all your effort from the rooftops!

You might ask, but what about the budget?

Plan your cycle menus (food) well. Procure and handle and manage the food carefully. Skillfully prepare and serve the food in fresh and tasty ways. Proclaim all of your food-focused improvement efforts to your community. Soon you will have a steady stream of happy customers who will make budget frustrations a thing of the past!

Maybe it just sounds too good to be true. I hear that, but it’s something I have seen work over and over again.

Focus on FOOD and SUCCESS will follow! Take one more look at that vision statement… That vision can be your school district’s reality!

Want to explore this topic more? I’d love to talk to you about it. Contact me to start a conversation that may change everything! Call or email me to schedule a call. | | 509-668-8578 |