Ohio school district earns funds for serving lines

Just before Christmas, Oak Hills School District in Cincinnati was awarded a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade equipment at an elementary school.

“It was like an early Christmas present,” says District Foodservice Supervisor Linda Eichenberger.

Oak Hills will use the $40,000 National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance Grant to install a new serving line at Delshire Elementary School. It will be a self-serve line with three hot wells and four cold wells, and will increase the variety of fruits and vegetables that can be offered to students. The current serving line—which is more than 40 years old—has only three hot wells for vegetables.

Eichenberger visited other schools that have self-serve lines and believes that the new line could expedite lunch service, becaue students will have two lines to use instead of one. Currently, it takes about three minutes for each student to receive lunch with the current serving line, in which students stand single-file and tell foodservice staff which entrée and vegetables they would like.

In the new set-up, Eichenberger says, staff will still serve students a hot entrée. But students will be able to choose their own vegetables, fruit and a drink and move to the register. She is excited about the possibility of offering raw fruits and vegetables such as strawberries or broccoli on the new self-serve line.

“For the first time, our customers will be able to get what they want. I hope they take a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that maybe they haven’t tried before,” she says.

Another aspect that Eichenberger likes about the new service line is that it will be lower to the ground, which will better accommodate younger students at Delshire, a K-5 school.

She plans to take a cue from other districts by showing students instructional videos on how to move through the new service line efficiently.

The district will replace the service line this spring. Eichenberger says that spring break, which is in early April, would be an ideal time for the replacement. However, the project’s designer says that the renovation could be done in one weekend, if needed.

The grant is the largest that Eichenberger has received for her district thus far. It’s likely to cover the entire cost of the replacement. However, if the project does cost more than expected, the foodservice budget will be able to cover the difference.  “If it’s a little more elaborate than I thought, foodservice has the funds to pick it up,” she says. “No matter what, we are going to make this work.”  

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources