Mass Marketing


School nutrition operations don’t compete with one another for student customers—it’s one of the most positive and unique aspects of this foodservice segment. This means that individual districts and schools can take full advantage of materials developed for national, regional or state campaigns and initiatives, such as the upcoming “School Breakfast: Out of This World” promotional resources that has SNA has produced for National School Breakfast Week 2020 (NSBW). This is exceedingly helpful for districts challenged by manpower and/or creative spirit when it comes to develop custom marketing to engage students.

While districts can turn to a variety of sources for such marketing assistance, it’s one undeniable benefit included in most contracts with foodservice vendors. In “Business vs. Personal” (December 2019), SN explored different perspectives on K-12 school foodservice contract management experiences. Patricia Guck, director of dining services, Birmingham (Mich.) Public Schools, which is managed by Chartwells, “adores” working in K-12 foodservice. Her position provides her independence to develop her own customized marketing and menu concepts. Last year, after seeing the growing popularity of ramen bowls with school-age kids, she established her own “Build Your Own Ramen” station.

Guck’s success with endeavors like these (she was a winner in USDA’s Show Us Your Tray contest last year) has raised her profile within the company. Recently, she was invited to join a select group of Chartwells K-12 directors in developing a new company-wide branding concept: Serving Up Happy and Healthy. “They really listened to me,” Guck says of her experience working with the marketing team at the corporate office. In addition, she’s been selected as one of six directors to launch a “Mood Boost” marketing concept. “Moodies” (emoji-style characters and icons) of positive attributes—happy, strong, alert, calm, smart, confident—are assigned to different food items and categories. Eye-catching trading cards, stickers, signage and recipes are provided by Chartwells to participating districts to support the campaign, which has been tweaked to appeal to both young students and high school teens.

This month, Guck began rolling out the Mood Boost concept to great response in her schools. Search @BirminghamPublicSchoolsFoodservice on Facebook to view photos from her “Feed Your Mood” launch. And while Chartwells has proprietary ownership of the individual characters and designs associated with its Mood Boost campaign, the clever nutrition education principles of the concept are easily adaptable by other districts across the country. Fun ideas that encourage kids to try new and nutritious foods are always worth sharing!

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