Anything new and different can be intimidating, but it can also be exciting at the same time. When you go outside your comfort zone, take a new approach, try new things, refresh something outdated or just think outside the box, it’s hard not to feel eager about what the response might be.
That’s why we’re excited to focus this issue of School Nutrition on “strategic solutions.” We want to inspire you to take a hard look at the way your cafeteria currently is and imagine all that it could be. Maybe that means a little bit of redecorating, or maybe it means a full renovation (if you have that option). Maybe it simply means taking advantage of some of the great products and resources our Secret Shoppers found in the Exhibit Hall at this year’s ANC—because yes, we have a full list of their favorites. Or it could mean switching up your menu by serving popular breakfast foods at a time of day that isn’t breakfast!
What strategic solutions will you take to reinvigorate your school’s foodservice operation with newfound excitement? We expect you’ll find some ideas and inspiration in our November/December issue highlighting these topics:
- You Can Design on a Dime: Taking pride in your cafeteria is a must if you’re going to create an environment that feels professional and welcoming—in other words, a place where your students and staff want to be. Even though the prospect of giving your space a refresh sounds like an expensive and burdensome undertaking, you can find creative ways to improve your cafeteria no matter what budget you’re working with. We’ve got the tips and guidance you need to make it happen.
- Designs on Facility Design Success: When it comes to the design of your foodservice space—including your cafeteria and kitchen—there’s one opinion that matters a lot: yours. You’re the one who works in this space every day, so you should be proactive about expressing your needs to the design company in charge of the project, listening to what they have to say in turn and collaborating with them to achieve the best results possible.
- The Most Wanted List: In an ideal world, every school nutrition department would have the unlimited budget to get every tool, every piece of equipment, and every bit of décor they want. To better understand the scope of need, and to provide inspiration to others out there, we surveyed 10 operators to find out what items they would include on their most wanted list and why.
- Secret Shopper Showcase: As always, this year’s Annual National Conference offered a great Exhibit Hall where companies from across the country showcased their latest and greatest products for school cafeterias, from equipment to products. Our Secret Shoppers hit the floor to try a little bit of everything, and they came up with a list of 12 that they’re highlighting as their favorites from this year’s exhibit. We think you’ll be just as excited as they are to bring these into your cafeteria!
- Food Focus: Breakfast for Lunch: Who doesn’t love breakfast for lunch? Whether you go savory or sweet, these inspirations from the typical morning meal work just as well any time of day, making students excited to try new flavors and giving you an opportunity to experiment with your menu. Consider these approaches to make breakfast-for-lunch a nutritious and innovative meal your students will love.