When you have only 30 minutes to feed breakfast to high school students before school starts, you need to think creatively. This is exactly what Bridgette Matthews, School Nutrition Director for Elbert County Schools in Georgia, did. To facilitate universal free breakfast for students, Matthews devised Grab-N-Go offerings that would make any Southerner proud. Behold the Biscuit Bistro!
“Here in the Deep South, biscuits are a mainstay. We were able to work it out nutritionally … to be able to serve a biscuit choice every day,” Matthews says. The Biscuit Bistro serves breakfast sandwiches on, you guessed it, biscuits paired with chicken, sausage or steak.
A total of four vending carts are positioned in the high school’s central courtyard to serve breakfast. Two carts are for the Biscuit Bistro, one offers smoothies, and the other is called Light & Fit—think yogurt, cereal bars and muffins.
Breakfast is a big deal to Matthews, a registered dietician who worked previously in the clinical setting. For her, boosting participation in breakfast was a logistical challenge: Kids were not going to the cafeteria in the mornings, so Matthews brought breakfast to them. “We decided to take breakfast from the cafeteria out into that courtyard area where students congregated in the morning before school started,” she says.
To do this Matthews needed a mobile option that her staff could stock in the cafeteria, then roll out to the four corners of the courtyard. “And we needed to be able to roll them back in after breakfast was over, because as classes change, that’s the hub of the school, and we gotta get those carts out of there,” she says.
Matthews bought four vending carts specifically for this breakfast program. “I use Cambro carts for our cashier lines, so I wanted something similar … because I knew how easy [Cambro products] are to keep clean, and how well they were made.”
Since launching in fall 2015, up to 300 students each day are participating in the breakfast program. With a total of 800 students, Matthews hasn’t quite reached her goal of 50% but she’s getting there. “We’re constantly looking to improve the program however we can,” she says.
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