Philadelphia School District reopens some full-service cafeterias

District had moved toward feeding from satellite kitchens, but critics say quality suffered.

Nov. 5—Squeezed by increasingly brutal budgets, the Philadelphia School District in recent years has moved to close dozens of full-service cafeterias, switching those schools to meals prepared in a warehouse in Brooklyn and trucked into Philadelphia.

Students, advocates, and even district staff agree: The pre-plated food is often less than appealing.

Of the district's roughly 280 meal sites, most—about 200—still receive the "satellite" meals made out of state, frozen, transported, and then warmed in school kitchens. But in an effort to make lunch more appetizing, the district converted 10 cafeterias back to full service in September, with on-site lunch ladies preparing meals daily.

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Industry News & Opinion

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Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

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Menu Development
eureka

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Industry News & Opinion

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In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

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Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

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