Since the pandemic, we have seen many changes across school cafeterias to ensure the safety of students while also adapting to various new styles of meal services for schools. One of the most notable transitions that has been popular in school cafeterias is the hyper-need for flexibility. Multifunctional equipment and flexibility operations allows students to continue to receive nutritious meals in a timely manner, so they are able to enjoy meals at the appropriate food temperature. Below, three different equipment needs for K12 cafeterias will be discussed in hopes to help schools address gaps in their operations. When these gaps are filled, efficiency is able to be improved to all-in-all deliver better foodservice programs to students and staff.
Whether this means delivering lunches to classrooms, or delivering morning snacks to classrooms, having the flexibility of location offers many opportunities. This migration away from the traditional school lunchroom allows the school flexibility of where students can enjoy food. This type of service involves the transport of foods from the cooking and dining areas to classrooms which means proper equipment is needed to do so. Some schools have adapted to using this style just for snack time or as needed during a school year, but making sure food is kept at the correct temperature is extremely important. Consider offering cold lunch or snack items during times where classroom meal or snack delivery is used. Having this as an option allows schools to be prepared to shift their delivery type if needed throughout the school year.
Traffic Flow Control:
While classroom delivery is an option, primarily schools are back to using their cafeterias as the main hub to serve meals to students. With many students in one room, things tend to get congested. Making sure there is a proper traffic flow that is clearly marked helps to keeps students flowing through the line optimally which saves staff time and allows students more time to eat their meal during the lunch break. Consider adding traffic rails that guide students into the line and help separate the line from the seating area of the lunchroom. Traffic rails and barriers also offer the opportunity to add more color to a cafeteria. Choosing from a variety of plexiglass designs can brighten the space and make it even more enjoyable for students during lunchtime.
Food Presentation and Safety:
Having food shields is something that nearly all schools have implemented to increase food safety while keeping food fresh and warm for students behind the counter. Food shields offer the opportunity for students to see what they have to choose from while making sure the food remains in a place where only staff can dish the food onto trays. Being able to see exactly what is being served to you and the safety measures taken to ensure the food is safe has become somewhat of a norm amongst the foodservice industry as a whole. Food shields do just that and allow students to see the meal item options while maintaining a barrier between the food and the line of diners.
There are many different ways to improve foodservice operations within K12 cafeterias. We have found these three pieces of equipment to be instrumental in the success of a school cafeteria today. Multiteria specializes in making custom solutions for school cafeterias to ensure meals are able to be delivered to students efficiently, traffic flow is optimized, and food safety guidelines are easily able to be enforced using the right equipment. Our Essence serving lines are completely customizable to allow your design dreams to be brought to life in your K12 cafeteria. Explore the possibilities with Essence today!