Three Solutions for the Savvy School Nutrition Director
School nutrition directors aren’t strangers to volatility. From changing nutrition regulations to budgetary constraints to staffing shortages, the landscape is constantly changing. Quick adaptation can mean the difference between efficient, cost-effective service and unwanted alternatives. So how can a school district make meaningful shifts in its school cafeterias? How can Foodservice Directors maximize the potential of staffing while still delivering consistency? And what is the school kitchen equipment needed to provide this level of service?
Read on for three savvy solutions to problems that most FSD’s are facing on a daily basis.
1) Alleviate School Cafeteria Staffing Issues
With so many school changes over the past few years, it’s a given that school cafeterias would see staff shortages. But students still need to be fed multiple times per day, no matter the labor issues behind the scenes. Having school kitchen equipment that automates processes and helps with labor can be the difference between getting all children fed or running behind when the breakfast or lunch crowd approaches.
Prep work can help relieve much of the stress of a school nutritionist’s day. Batch cooking in advance and using a rethermalizer to reheat meals helps speed up service, which is especially important for schools with multiple meal hours. Also crucial for batch cooking is having a blast chiller or freezer on hand to keep food out of the danger zone and prevent foodborne illness, which is especially harmful in children. By bringing food temperatures down quickly and safely, school staff are also helping prevent food waste, which is another bonus.
2) Versatile Equipment Helps Meet USDA Standards
Another aspect that school nutrition directors and staff need to think about is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) school nutrition standards. Created to ensure that 30 million students around the country are fed nutritious meals, these standards regulate the amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and proteins that should be served in every school meal. These guidelines change regularly as new information is learned that can help students. Having school kitchen equipment that can handle these changes and cook a large variety of menu items can help staff pivot quickly and also remain USDA compliant.
With an electric tilting skillet, cafeteria staff can cook many different dishes via braising, searing, frying, and sauéting. By being able to make student lunch favorites like soups, macaroni, hamburgers, grilled cheese, or chicken, there’s the ability to have a range of items that fit school nutrition standards. And don’t forget about those breakfast menu choices like pancakes, eggs, and sausage to help kids start their day off with a full stomach.
3) Minimize Downtime With Cooking Equipment That Lasts
When foodservice equipment is manufactured with superior quality, it will last longer. The Blodgett DFG Series convection oven offers superior construction, including hassle-free doors and a double-porcelainized interior that prevents hidden rust.
Perfect for rigorous, day-to-day use in school cafeterias, the DFG series convection ovens provide longer lifetime performance, helping control costs over the unit’s life. With various oven sizes, from half-size and economy units to midsize and premium, the Blodgett DFG series has one of the lowest vertical heights on the market today. The double-stack unit easily fits under low hood heights, making it one of the most sought after ovens on the market.
School nutrition directors already face many challenges. Let Middleby help solve some of them with the right school kitchen equipment for your cafeteria.
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