More Sample Customer Service Scenarios

More Sample Customer Service Scenarios

In “Above & Beyond” in the August 2016 issue of School Nutrition, Editor Patricia L. Fitzgerald examines two important points to remember when making customer service in your school nutrition operation a priority: Your customers are not limited to the students who participate in the meal program, and the most memorable customer service is demonstrated when faced with conflict and confrontation.

Handling tricky customer service situations that you may encounter takes some practice, so the print article includes some scenarios involving several different customer categories. You and your team can use those, as well as the below additional sample scenarios, to reflect on your responses and to practice and share ideas together on how you would handle these example situations.

School Administrator Scenario

The school principal stops by your kitchen one morning and informs you and your staff that all of the students in one grade are leaving on a field trip in 30 minutes—do you have the sack lunches ready for the students to take on the bus? This is the first time you and your team are learning of the field trip! Once it’s been established that someone has dropped the communications ball, she asks if you and your staff can whip something together quickly for the 100 students. What do you do?

Community Partner Scenario

You receive an email from the president of your school’s PTA, who writes that he would like to set up a table in the cafeteria at an upcoming school event that will take place after school lets out for the day. He informs you that the PTA plans to sell doughnuts to event attendees, with the profits going toward a PTA fundraiser. It’s your impression that the president is simply trying to keep you in the loop about the use of your space and is not familiar with school’s wellness policy rules about foods that are eligible to be sold for school fundraisers. Since it’s after school  and you’re not involved, it’s not really your responsibility to say anything, but you are one of the resident experts on the policy. What do you do?

School Nurse Scenario

It’s 10 minutes before the first lunch service and a team member is out sick, with no sub having shown up yet. Then, the school nurse calls to inform you that a student with diabetes has come by his office feeling unwell. He’s determined that she needs a food item, such as crackers, to help balance out her blood sugar. He didn’t realize his own stock is empty. Can you offer something from your pantry? And since he needs to stay with the student, can someone on your team come deliver it to his office right away? What do you do?

Delivery Driver Scenario

The delivery driver from the local dairy has just arrived, and he tells you that he thinks he may have strained his back earlier in the day. Yours is the last school stop on his route, and he will report the injury when he gets back to his garage, but he doesn’t want you to miss out on your delivery until the next day when a replacement driver can be arranged. He asks if someone on your team can help him get the cases out of the truck, onto the dolly and into your coolers. This is not part of your job responsibilities and you’re a little anxious about handling those heavy cases yourself. What do you do?

School Nutrition Colleague Scenario

You and your colleagues are working on lunch preparations one morning—everyone has a busy with a necessary task. As the first lunch period draws closer, one of your coworkers leaves briefly to take an urgent phone call. She returns and reports that her son is sick and that she will need to go pick him up from school as soon as possible. What do you do?

Thanks to Chris Walters, lead foodservice assistant for Portland (Ore.) Public Schools, for his contributions to this online extra.

Contact Us

2900 S. Quincy Street, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22206  

Tel (703) 824-3000
Fax (703) 824-3015

> For The Media

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Read the latest news and developments facing the school nutrition industry, as well as stay on top of important trends and resources.


> Read the Latest Newsletters

SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

> Learn More