Happy Birthday to You!

In “At Your Service” in the October 2016 issue of School Nutrition, Contributing Editor Kelsey Casselbury explores how to improve your revenue stream, sense of professionalism and program reputation by starting (or growing) a department catering program.

After gleaning insights about what you should consider if you’re contemplating starting or growing a catering division as part of your school nutrition operation, you might be wondering about how to begin.

An easy way to start with a catering business is to offer treats for classroom birthday parties and similar celebrations. Send a flyer home to parents (and follow up regularly with social media mentions and newsletter inclusions) that touts the benefits of purchasing treats from your school nutrition department. These include convenience, reputation, food safety practices and price. There’s no lack of variety available for your menu offerings, ranging from pizza and wings to cookies and cupcakes to fruit and veggies with dip.

Make sure that catering requests include the child’s name, birthday (or other occasion) and teacher’s name, to be sure the right treat is delivered to the right location. Allow the parent to pay via the student’s school meal account or check/credit card.

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