The Crucial Role of Versatile Foodservice Equipment in Schools Post-Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped countless aspects of our lives, and the education sector was no exception. School foodservice departments faced unprecedented challenges, from adapting to remote learning to implementing stringent safety measures. As schools transition back to in-person learning, the importance of versatile equipment in school foodservice cannot be overstated.

flex station in hallway

The financial strains caused by the pandemic have led schools to look for cost-effective solutions. Versatile equipment offers a budget-friendly approach by eliminating the need for constant replacements or significant investments in specialized tools. Multifunctional equipment provides long-term value by being adaptable to changing needs. This versatility not only ensures efficient resource utilization but also helps schools navigate uncertain economic times with greater resilience.

Camshelving Premium Series® Flex Station was created to be whatever school foodservice professionals need it to be. During the pandemic, Cheryl Marengo, Assistant Food Service Director at Lakeview School District in Battle Creek, Mich., purchased Camshelving Flex Stations for each school to use as a mobile salad bar. Everything was safely wrapped, but the students were able to come into the hall to choose what they wanted each day.

Now that students are back in the cafeteria, Marengo found a new use for her Flex Stations: Breakfast in the Hallway.

“I’m very happy to be utilizing [the Flex Stations] and also happy our staff will have more control serving the kids the breakfast,” said Marengo. “I liked them because when we’re in the hallways in the elementary schools, they’re taller so that you can keep things out of reach of the students that you don’t want them to touch.”

“The kids really liked the carts. They love them because our staff decorates them for the holidays, and they love to see them coming with all the little lights on them.”

Cheryl Marengo, Assistant Food Service Director at Lakeview School District

One reason Marengo was so confident ordering the Flex Stations was because the district already has a significant amount of Camshelving Premium Series in their storerooms. She likes it for two reasons in particular:


“We have some [Camshelving] in our coolers and it’s a lot easier to clean up after spills,” said Marengo. “You can pop those shelves off and we can run them right through the dishwasher.”


“We’ve been kind of rough on them; we were going up and down hallways and inside and outside and transporting everywhere on these shelves with the wheels. I have not had a single set of wheels go out, which is the bane of all of our existences on everything that has wheels on it. The wheels just disintegrate as soon as you look at them,” said Marengo.

In addition to Camshelving, Lakeview School District depends on Cambro food pans for prep and storage. When asked why she chooses Cambro, Marengo replied, “Well, gosh, who compares to [Cambro]? I’m not even sure. Cambro is such a well-known name. Once you start with Cambro…everything stacks together nicely. The lids are versatile…go from pan to pan and I think it’s just nice to have it all fit together.”

Although Marengo has been working in schools for 15 years, has experienced the foodservice industry since she was just 3-years-old when her parents bought their first restaurant. Afterward, they owned several additional fast food and full service restaurants and ice cream stands.

“I just don’t even know in all those experiences of any other pan besides Cambro that anyone desires to use for their food storage,” said Marengo.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, school foodservice departments have embraced adaptability and shown true resilience. By investing in equipment that can flexibly navigate any challenges that come your way, schools can create a more resilient, engaging and satisfying dining experience for their students. Contact your local Cambro sales rep today to get started.


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