Crime and Punishment

Detroit school’s lunch ban punishes students with hunger.

In one Detroit school, if your classmates have a food fight, you lose your lunch for a week. That was the case at McLeod Bethune Elementary-Middle School, a part of the Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan, a district created to help low-performing schools boost academic standing. When 175 students were involved in a food fight last week, the school’s administration decided the punishment would be to suspend foodservice for a week.

I have a hard time believing this was the best solution to the food-fight problem. First, students were encouraged to bring food from home, so ammo was still at the students’ disposal should they wish to hold another fight. Second, I’m assuming most students in this school qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. (The district offers meals for free to all students, regardless of payment status.) By taking away a school-provided lunch, the district is punishing students, who most likely rely on the free meal, with hunger.

A hunger punishment is never OK.

Then there are those students who had parents bring them fast food for lunch. That’s another lesson that doesn’t need re-enforcement in our schools.

And what about the loss of foodservice revenue for that week? And was the foodservice staff at that school told not to come into work for the week? That’s placing a hardship on those workers in a city with a high unemployment rate.

Apparently, the school’s administration came to the realization that the school-lunch ban wasn’t a good idea. They rescinded the order after two days sans lunch.

Do the students deserve a punishment? Of course. But in a time when it’s hard to get kids to eat healthfully and also combat hunger, it’s unfathomable to me why this school felt cutting a nutritious meal was the best answer.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
coffee barista

Whether it’s a morning routine, an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening social ritual, few things are as universally appealing as coffee. Sixty-five percent of respondents in Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report say they ordered a cup of hot joe from a foodservice location in the past month, and 59% say the same about cold coffee. Everyone has an opinion about what makes it good, whether it’s a low price, a unique blend or a friendly barista.

“Coffee is so personal. There are a lot of people that are Dunkin’ fans. There’s a lot of Starbucks people,” says James Dravenack,...

Ideas and Innovation
star wars storm trooper

My favorite event—because I’m kind of dorky—is our “May the fourth be with you” (aka “Star Wars”) day on May 4. The whole dining team dresses up, and we offer things like Chewbaklava, Boba Fettuccine and BB-8 Buckeyes. We had a guest cry because they got to take a picture with Chewy.

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

FSD Resources