Kevin Eaton - Oct 12, 2017

What Happens When School Lunch No Longer Looks Like School Lunch?


There’s never been anything glamorous about waiting in the lunch line at school. What if that could change? What if eating school lunch was cool again? It turns out, it’s all in the design and equipment. 

In an article from Foodservice Equipment and Supplies Magazine, Penny Parham, the Administrative Director in Miami-Dade's Department of Food and Nutrition, talks about why the cafeterias needed to be updated. 

"The reasons we are changing the serving lines and purchasing equipment is to improve the overall appearance of the cafeteria and to replace non-working lines. We're giving the serving lines a more restaurant feel to resemble what students are used to and want. If the lines are more enticing, we can increase participation.”

School lunch is often seen as a necessity, not a choice. By updating Miami-Dade schools' cafeterias, they were able to move further away from the negative stigma associated with school lunch. New serving lines were transformed by LTI from a design standpoint, as well as a sturdiness standpoint. 

[SEE ALSO: How Can LTI and Eaton Marketing Help Upgrade Your Cafeteria]

Tom Holmberg, Director of Facilities at the Department of Food and Nutrition, realizes how tough kids can be on old equipment, stating,"When they wiggled the old lines they came apart. This equipment had to stand up to wear and tear". 

As you know, school lunches are short. With poorly designed cafeterias, students who participate in school lunches often don't have enough time to enjoy their lunch. Previously, most cafeterias had two separate lines for hot and cold items. New serving lines made room for refrigerated display cases that eliminated the need for two lines.

[ADDITIONAL INFO: Florida School Cafeteria Resource Page]

Effective equipment plus eye-catching design is the recipe for success when it comes to school nutrition programs. 

By improving efficiency and design in school cafeterias, students and staff can begin to enjoy lunch again. Taking design cues from restaurants that students are used to and installing high quality equipment, schools can improve participation.

Find out if your school cafeteria makes the grade with a free school nutrition assessment.

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Written by Kevin Eaton

Kevin Eaton is the President of Eaton Marketing & Associates and a seasoned Manufacturer Rep in Florida.