Columbus, Ohio, schools hunting for partner districts

District hopes to find cost savings is districts partner up to provide meals to students.

March 5—Columbus City (Ohio) Schools leaders will meet with representatives of surburban districts in the next couple weeks to see if cost-savings could be found if area districts partnered in providing meals to students.

Joe Brown, the director of food services for Columbus City Schools, said at a gathering of the disrict's audit committee Thursday evening that the intiative was his idea and he didn't yet know how many districts would participate. The partnership is aimed at districts, not charter schools, he said.

The district's food services division continues to lose about $2 million a year, which Brown attributed to higher labor costs in Columbus' operation than is typical for Ohio districts. Cincinnati schools food operation turns a profit or breaks even each year, but its labor costs are substantially lower, Brown said. Columbus food workers produce more meals per worker-hour, but that doesn't make up the cost disadvantage, Brown said.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
unsung heroes graphic

Febin Bellamy, a senior at Georgetown University, is the founder of Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit that features service workers on college campuses in man-on-the-street-style Facebook interviews. This year, Bellamy is working with a dozen schools to launch their own chapters of the storytelling platform. Here’s what he’s learned about staff shoutouts.

Q: Why did you decide to start Unsung Heroes?

A: One day I started a conversation with a custodial worker in the business school that I would see all the time. I learned that we had a lot of similarities; for instance, we both wanted to...

Ideas and Innovation
bolognese sauce

We’re trying to bring scratch cooking to all the elementary schools, but we’re taking it dish by dish. Right now, we satellite a lot of the dishes out. This month we made a Bolognese from scratch, and went to each of the schools to talk to them about the process and see if they could implement it. It helps us find out the hurdles and what they are going to need to make it work.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

FSD Resources