If your school cafeteria is more crowded than Grand Central Station during rush hour, you may want to consider implementing a Grab-N-Go program outside the cafeteria. Just as in real estate, the secret to a successful Grab-N-Go program is location, location, location!
But even the right location won’t guarantee success without a good menu offering something unique or the same variety the students could find on the main line. Jessica Shelly, Foodservice Director – Cincinnati Public Schools District, has the daily challenge of feeding over 2,000 students in her high school in one hour and has found success by using a Cambro CamKiosk® .
Jessica Shelly meets with her students often and asks for feedback on the food. One day Jessica was asked by a student why she didn’t serve sushi. Her response: “Yeah, why don’t I?” After researching different sushi restaurants in the area she found one willing to go through the multitude of steps to get approved as a supplier for public schools. The sushi restaurant now provides multiple schools with sushi, in addition to Jessica’s high schools.
Grab-N-Go: Not the Cafeteria Main Line
The unique sushi offering is customized on-site to meet the taste preference of the student ordering. The sushi is served in convenient to go boxes that have a black plastic bottom and clear top so that students can see the fresh sushi when they are considering what to buy for lunch. The Grab-N-Go menu rotates cold items offered on the main cafeteria line for the days sushi is not offered. The cart has proven to be a great investment with 200-300 meals being sold each day depending on the menu.
Sushi is just one unique offering that was found to increase participation at the Cincinnati Public Schools District. Students like to have a choice and through surveys and focus groups ideas can quickly spring up for new Grab-N-Go menu options. Make sure to provide your students with examples of items that are reasonable requests. Although some requests might be too difficult to offer on a mass scale you would be surprised about how creative you can get. Consider Sacramento School District and their BBQ offering to 400+ students in less than 30 minutes each day.
BBQ, fresh stir fried noodles and sandwiches made-to-order are some other options to consider that have seen success across the nation. For cost controls consider incorporating items that are offered on the main cafeteria line but change the recipe to put a twist on the flavor offered on the Grab-N-Go cart. Offering an exclusive or unique menu for the Grab-N-Go program is a great way to increase participation.
Click for more ideas on implementing a successful Grab-N-Go program and contact a Cambro rep for more school foodservice ideas.