Managing Multiples


In “Business vs. Personal” (December 2019), SN explored different perspectives on K-12 school foodservice contract management experiences. One model is for a company—or a successful small or medium-sized, self-operated school foodservice department—to manage the foodservice operation of one or more other small, neighboring school districts. The addition of a few extra serving sites and a modest student enrollment seems a no-brainer. But there can be less-obvious complications involved.

With more than three decades experience in K-12 school nutrition, Kathleen Poor, CDM, SNS, foodservice director for Springboro Community (Ohio) Schools, has the expertise to manage multiple districts and, some might argue that the size of her district (six buildings and 6,500 students) means she has the capacity to do so, as well. But for Poor, such a request would be a “been-there-done-that-not-doing-it-again” proposition. She ended her 27-year tenure at Aramark managing three small districts—it wasn’t the sole reason she made a career change, but Poor cautions that it can be more complicated than it seems on the surface. “Yes, they’re small,” she acknowledges. “But you still need to work with three different superintendents and three different boards of education.” Consider every decision that needs to go up the chain, such as meal prices, procurement, meal charge policy, special initiatives and so on. These are beyond the management of additional serving sites.

It’s also a challenge to be involved in three separate communities—and those relationships are so critical to the success of a school nutrition operation. “In a small town, the school is often the largest employer,” Poor notes. There are important partnerships to establish with principals, teachers, parents and local businesses—all in an effort to determine and meet the needs and values of individual districts.

One more complication? Three different school calendars. While some dates may be mandated by the state, there’s a great deal of latitude for districts to establish individual schedules for breaks, teacher workdays, weather make-up days and so on. When breaks and holidays don’t match up across multiple districts, that can put a lot stress on the contracted foodservice director to find his or her own downtime. 

Contact Us

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

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

> For The Media
> Work With US

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