Whatever you choose, tap into all the helpful tips below for easier preparation, timing, distribution, and cleanup. 

  • Preparation
  • Breakfast: School nutrition staff packs meals into coolers or insulated bags to be transported to each classroom by staff, designated students or volunteers.
  • Lunch: At the start of the school day, teachers place their student meal orders to be delivered during assigned lunch periods.
  • Timing
  • Breakfast: Students eat during the first 10–15 minutes of class, during morning announcements or while the teacher takes attendance or reviews lessons.
  • Lunch: Students eat as a regular part of their scheduled day in the classroom.
  • Distribution of Meals
  • Teachers, school nutrition staff, volunteers or designated students distribute meals to students at their desks or before they take their seats. They then record which, or how many students, eat a meal.
  • Cleanup
  • Students clear trash and wipe down desks. Breakfast and lunch trash can be placed in the hallway to be collected by custodial staff.
  • Tips
  • Utilize insulated bags and carts to deliver to classrooms and hallway stations.
  • Incorporate hot items for breakfast and lunch. Get recipe ideas here.
  • Increase participation by offering online ordering for a la carte items.
  • Preparation
  • Foodservice staff prepare meals ahead of breakfast and lunch service.
  • Students pick up their meals from the cafeteria or kiosks as they arrive to school for breakfast and are dismissed by classroom for lunch
  • Meals can be prepackaged or individually wrapped items
  • Timing
  • For lunch, allow 10 minutes per classroom for each class to receive their meals
  • For breakfast service, allow 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the school day
  • Distribution of Meals
  • School nutrition staff distributes meals and students are counted via the point of sale (POS) system in the cafeteria. If using kiosks, the count is achieved through a wireless POS or manual lists
  • Cleanup
  • Students clear trash and wipe down desks. Breakfast and lunch trash can be placed in the hallway to be collected by custodial staff.
  • Tips
  • Utilize 6ft spacing indicators on the floor.
  • Provide students with reusable lunch totes to transport meals to and from the cafeteria.
  • Preparation
  • School nutrition staff packs meals in bags to be picked up from the cafeteria or kiosks in the hallway on the way to class.
  • Offer one entrée for breakfast and two entrées for lunch
  • Have multiple kiosks set up around the building and identify access points for student meals
  • Timing
  • Students pick up their meals as they arrive at school. They eat breakfast at their desks in the morning for about 10-15 minutes and eat lunch at a scheduled midday time with their class
  • Distribution of Meals
  • School nutrition staff distributes meals and students are counted via the point of sale (POS) system in the cafeteria. If using kiosks, the count is achieved through a wireless POS or a manual list
  • Cleanup
  • Students clear trash and wipe down desks. Breakfast and lunch trash can be placed in the hallway to be collected by custodial staff.
  • Tips
  • Utilize 6ft spacing indicators on the floor for students waiting in line to receive their meals.
  • Incorporate bento boxes into menus for easy meal service.
  • Use a kiosk to provide a mobile home base for meals.
  • Preparation
  • Congregate areas are prepared in advance
  • Tables are distanced 6 feet apart, students divided by classrooms
  • Offer two entrees for lunch, hot and cold
  • Utilize multiple serving lines and have meals prepackaged and ready to go
  • Timing
  • Students pick up their meals and return to their designated tables
  • Safety
  • Utilize gymnasiums, outdoor courtyards, auditoriums and cafeterias
  • Provide hand sanitizer stations
  • Purchase Plexiglass shields to divide between tables
  • Tips
  • Utilize Plexiglass cafeteria tabletop dividers.
  • Utilize Plexiglass countertop.
  • Utilize cashier plexiglass shields.
  • Preparation
  • Carefully choose the distribution location. This may be in the cafeteria, school lobby or even outside
  • Prepackage meals in the morning so they are ready to go upon student dismissal
  • Timing
  • Students pick up their meals from predetermined locations at dismissal of the school day
  • Safety
  • Utilize gymnasiums, outdoor courtyards, auditoriums and cafeterias
  • Carefully label meals, and ensure correct packaging for any dietary restrictions or special situations
  • Tips
  • Ensure that you have proper packaging and equipment. Use reusable cooler totes dedicated for take-home meal distribution only.
  • Take-home meals will work great depending on the school’s schedule per grade levels and/or students.

Meal Ordering Suggestions

Elementary

At the start of the day, teachers access the school menu and are shown two options available for lunch

  • Students raise their hand for the meal option they prefer; teachers tally up the totals and submit one order for the entire class
  • By mid-morning, Food and Nutrition Services receives the order sent by the classroom
  • Meals are prepared, packaged, and delivered to classrooms by noon; students then enjoy their chosen meals at their desks

Middle School

  • Students arrive at school and place their lunch order before allocated time period
  • Lunch orders are received with student’s name and classroom number
  • Meals are packaged by classroom number and delivered for distribution to students
  • Students enjoy daily meals at their desks

High School

  • Students arrive at school and place their lunch order before allocated time period
  • Lunch orders are received with student’s name and classroom number
  • Meals are packaged by classroom number and delivered for distribution to students
  • Students enjoy daily meals at their desks

Reach Students and Parents Where They Are

Choose the communication platform that works best for your school, as a means for keeping families informed about school meal options.

The entire world is embracing mobile app technology, and school meal service is no exception.

You can find custom-built apps that offer robust capabilities to make your job easier, and to give you convenient control of your meal planning.
Search the iPhone App Store or Google Play to find an app with the features that work best for your district.

Related Posts