Your Complete K-12 School Meal Solution Guide

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, school foodservice operators have been forced to roll with the punches. After months of speculation, states are finally giving schools more information about what the new school year will look like. Depending on what your school is doing, you may need new products or you may need to repurpose your old ones to meet your new needs. We looked at the most popular scenarios schools are adopting around the country to identify which products will work best for you:

Distanced Cafeteria Feeding

Challenge: Serving kids meals in a timely manner while keeping social distancing protocols. The classic cafeteria line is going to look a little different. For many schools, serving kids in the cafeteria is still the best option, but they’ll need to navigate how to keep kids distanced while they get their food.

Vending Carts: Utilizing vending carts in addition to the standard cafeteria line allows you to serve more students in less time and decreases the number of students who are congregating in the same space. Setup Cambro’s CamKiosk® or CamCruiser® on the opposite side of the cafeteria line to reduce crowding and speed up the serving process.

Versa Food Bars®: Repurpose your salad bar as a Grab-n-Go station with packaged meals, snacks and drinks. The wells are designed to keep items at temperature with Camwarmers or Camchillers. Students can conveniently grab items from both sides of the bar, expediting service and maintaining separation.

Camshelving® Premium Series Flex Station: The Cambro Flex Station is a product that every school needs. As its name suggests, this product is truly as flexible as it gets. Configure your Flex Station to suit your needs by mixing divider bars and shelves. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, the Flex Station is designed for any employee to be able to move it both short and long distances. 

Cambro Trays: Continue using your trays for touchless, sanitized service. When going through the cafeteria line, reduce handling by instructing employees to load each student’s tray rather than handing the items directly to the student.

Meals in the Classroom

Challenge: Keep food fresh and at temperature from kitchen to classroom. The biggest challenge with delivering food in any capacity is maintaining its quality and temperature. Kids are already picky with the taste of their food, and serving lukewarm items isn’t going to cut it. 

Insulated Transport Units: Cambro’s extensive range of insulated transport units makes it easy for schools to deliver fresh, food and drinks at the right temperatures. Stack top loading or front-loading Cam GoBoxes® on a  Camdolly® Compact to pack up meals and effortlessly wheel them to each classroom. The Cam GoBox Milk Crate Box holds a full milk crate and is lightweight enough for a student to carry, as is done at Propel Schools in Pittsburgh, Pa. Many schools already have a Pro Cart Ultra® that was originally purchased for holding pans of hot or cold food. These versatile units allow you to load food of either temperature and smoothly transport it through hallways and outside classrooms.  

Camshelving® Premium Series Flex Station: Wheel your Flex Station from the kitchen to each classroom with ease. This unit is capable of holding a significant number of items or prepackaged meals, allowing employees to quickly serve students outside of their classrooms without multiple trips to reload. Stack Cambro Delivery GoBags® on the bottom shelf to hold hot items while divider bars with Camwear® Boxes hold cold sides and drinks. The Flex Station reduces handling as students can pick out what they want without the supervising employee needing to hand it to them.

Camtainer®:  Keep kids hydrated safely by using Cambro’s Camtainer with easy serve dispenser. Kids often get a little too close to water fountains, even when using refillable water bottles. With the Camtainer, water is kept extremely cold for at least four hours and its easy serve dispenser decreases the chances of cross contamination.

Pick up from Cafeteria

Challenge: Students must pick up their food from the cafeteria and bring it back to their classroom or an outdoor seating area. This method works best with cold meals, but as many foodservice operators have expressed, they like the option of providing hot meals to their students to provide them with a more diverse and interesting menu.

Separator Compartment Trays and Meal Delivery Trays: These trays allow you to serve both hot and cold foods on the same tray and their accompanying covers help maintain temperatures during transport. Employees can preload trays with meals for quick distribution to students.

GoBox Lunchbox: Maintain the temperatures of hot and cold foods in the same container for up to four hours. This stackable lunchbox is a great option if staffing is limited and meals need to be prepared in advance.

Tablotherm Cam GoBox Meal Delivery System: This product is a cost-effective solution for providing single-served meals. This lightweight insulated tray separates hot and cold foods while keeping meals at safe temperatures for up to 60 minutes.

Meal Distribution

Challenge: Transport packaged meals from the kitchen to the curb and keep food safe until parents pick them up or buses arrive to distribution points. Most if not all schools started this method during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and into their summer feeding programs. Temperature retention and transportation are two of the biggest concerns with meal distribution curbside and through direct delivery.

Camshelving® Premium Series Flex Station: Throughout the last few months, the Flex Station is a product we observed being utilized consistently curbside. Its versatility allows schools to either load prepacked meals onto it or create an assembly line of items with Camwear Boxes for employees to put together at the curb. It’s maneuverability and capacity make it the ideal unit for schools across the country.

Cam GoBoxes and Delivery GoBags: For foodservice operations utilizing buses to deliver meals on their routes, Cam GoBoxes or Delivery GoBags are a must. GoBoxes keep food at safe cold or hot temperatures for at least four hours and are lightweight enough for employees to load and unload everything they need for a full round of distribution. GoBags are a cost effective and space saving option that keep food safe and protected during transport. They are built to endure extensive use and handling.

Handwashing Solutions

Challenge: Consistently washing hands despite there being no running water readily available in your serving areas. Providing handwashing stations is not only hygienic, but shows your operation considers it a high priority.

Handwash Starter Station: Set up the Handwash Starter Station anywhere inside or outside your school. Enabling employees and students to wash their hands closer to where they are serving, picking up or eating encourages more frequent handwashing and decreases the spread of microbes.

3 in 1 Handwash Station: This complete handwashing solution ensures the availability of soap, warm water and paper towels for hours of sanitary service. The ultra-durable, insulated Camtainer provides 5 gallons (19 L) of warm water and maintains recommended water temperature for at least four hours.

CamKiosk Hand Sink Cart: The CamKiosk Hand Sink Cart is like the sink in your kitchen—but better. Designed to make handwashing available anywhere you need it, two 5-gallon freshwater tanks guarantee enough hot or cold water for up to 70 hand washings. The CamKiosk Hand Sink Cart is equipped with double stainless-steel sinks, two 7.5-gallon wastewater bins, a hand soap dispenser, a paper roll holder and plugs into any 110V electrical outlet. Additionally, Cambro recently released a foot pump model of the CamKiosk Hand Sink Cart that allows the operator to turn the water on and off without using their hands.   As a school foodservice operator, you’ve already had to make drastic changes to the meal program you offered before the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you’ve got a system you’re comfortable with or you’re still trying to figure things out, the Cambro products outlined in this blog are built with a durability and adaptability to support your needs and goals. Contact your Cambro rep today to get a personalized consultation on the equipment that fits your school’s foodservice plan.


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