See how a high school’s new eatery preps more than just food

union coffee

When Clover High School in Clover, S.C., was left with an unused kitchen due to an expansion, Superintendent Dr. Marc Sosne decided to transform the area into a place where students could grab a bite to eat, as well as foster their independence and collaborate with one another. Thus was born the Clover Student Union, which opened at the start of the school year and includes indoor and outdoor seating for up to 100 students. Here’s an inside look. 

Preparing for the future

union seating

While the union provides students with a place to enjoy a meal other than the cafeteria, it’s also intended to help them grow. “We want them to learn how to use their independent time wisely,” Sosne says. The union is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week, and gives students a place to work and hang out during their free time before, during and after school.

To encourage teamwork, furniture in the union is geared toward collaboration and productivity. “There [are] high-top tables where they can recharge their iPads while they’re working on projects, and sofas and little seating areas where they can work in small groups,” Sosne says. Teachers are also able to rent portions of the union to host classes. 

Students have a say

union

Food served at the union is prepped in the previously unused kitchen, separate from the school’s cafeteria. “It’s all about options,” says chef Brittani Vanderschaegen, noting that the union sells pastries, fresh salads, sandwiches, individual pizzas, specialty flatbreads and sushi, as well coffee and several caffeine-free beverages.

“The students definitely have input in what’s on the menu, as they’re our primary customer and we want them to be as excited as we are about coming to the new student union,” she says. “We’ll continue to involve students in recipe development through taste tests and feedback—all critical to our success.”

Staff reap benefits, too

union

Not solely for students, the Clover Student Union also offers faculty and staff the ability to grab a bite to eat between classes and meetings. “They like being able to have a coffee shop-type atmosphere where they can get a muffin and a coffee in the middle of day and not have to worry about leaving campus,” Sosne says. “It’s created a whole new dynamic at the school.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
salad bowl

We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

Ideas and Innovation
bleu barn

While undergoing a large-scale expansion that changed a chunk of its layout and added a new building to campus, Bethany crafted its own cafe—a place where residents and guests of the Waupaca, Wis., senior living center could grab a casual bite throughout the day.

Originally dubbed The Barn because of the area’s affinity for farming, the rustic-themed fast casual took over a space earlier occupied by a great room with a small kitchen, and where resident assistants once served meals. (Now that area is squarely in the purview of foodservice and is staffed by members of the dining team...

FSD Resources