With an increasing number of schools offering Universal Free Breakfast, foodservice operators are looking for ways to serve their students more efficiently. In 2017, more than 90,000 schools across the country served breakfast to 14.6 million students each day; 11.6 of those students received free breakfast, according to the School Nutrition Association. The challenges associated with serving Universal Free Breakfast are often budget and time. An increase of breakfast participation means more kids need to be served within the same time constraints.
Carolyn Barnes, Foodservice Director of Newberry County School District in South Carolina, set out to find a way to serve her students more proficiently. Like many schools across the US, Barnes says they used to pack breakfast items in individual coolers and serve students in the classroom. This method can work well for smaller schools or ones with less participation, but all the schools in NCSD offer Universal Free Breakfast and distribution was taking too much time.
“Sometime around 2015 we decided to start serving breakfast in carts. After some research, we decided to go for Cambro [Versa Work Tables – Ultra Series]. The work tables are mobile, so our staff could just roll them down the hall and create a serving line by the classrooms where the kids could come and grab what they wanted,” said Barnes.
This kind of efficiency is a win-win for staff and students. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, children who participate in Universal Free Breakfast tend to have improved attendance, less tardiness, increased test scores and an improved diet. Many foodservice operators fear implementing Universal Free Breakfast will increase labor costs per meal, but that doesn’t need to be the case.
“In the morning, three carts are filled with different breakfast items and wheeled to separate halls. We are able to feed all the children in about 15 minutes,” said Barnes.
One reason Barnes’ staff can work so quickly, is the capability to transport a large volume of food. In the 5-foot Versa Work Table – Ultra Series unit, four full-size pans fit on the top and six full-size pans fit in the storage compartment underneath. Although it doesn’t take long for Barnes’ staff to service students, work tables keep food cold with Camchillers. She says they’ve tested out how to keep hot items at the ideal temperature too.
“The unit is very insulated, so we don’t lose that much heat in 20 minutes of serving. We just make sure the temps are at 140 degrees when we leave the kitchen,” said Barnes.
Start serving breakfast to students in a timely and cost-effective manner. Contact your Cambro sales rep to get started today.