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

Sponsored Content
fish tacos

From High Liner Foods.

Younger consumers are driving an increased focus on sustainability, and more consumers overall are demanding a wider variety of seafood on menus. With shifting interest in seafood, operators need to be familiar with the seafood consumer—who they are, what they’re looking for and when they eat it—to more effectively boost interest in seafood dishes.

Understand consumer habits

Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report finds that 65% of consumers eat seafood at least occasionally (once every 90 days or more), either as an...

Industry News & Opinion

The Missouri House of Representatives has initially approved a bill that would enable students with dietary issues to forgo mandatory meal plans at public colleges and universities, U.S. News reports.

Approved Tuesday, the bill would grant students with medical documentation of food sensitivities, food allergies or medical dietary issues the right to opt out of meal plans.

Supporters of the bill say it will allow students to not have to pay for food they can’t safely eat, while opponents say that the bill will negatively impact schools financially. According to legislative...

Industry News & Opinion

A study released by Sodexo indicates that gender-balanced management improves team performance.

The 2018 study is an expansion of a previous Sodexo study that launched in 2014. The expanded study analyzed 50,000 managers in all levels of management from 70 entities around the world over five years.

The study found that teams managed by 40% to 60% women had better employee and client retention, saw fewer workplace accidents and increased their operating margins and employee engagement.

Industry News & Opinion

Rick Farmer, executive chef for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Stephanie Powers, executive chef of Spring Harbor, a retirement community in Columbus, Ga., were crowned the winners of MenuDirections’ 2018 Culinary Competition.

Split into teams of two, chefs had 60 minutes to prepare and plate their own entrees using a preselected basket of ingredients such as beans, mushrooms and orange sauce. Each dish was judged on its presentation, taste and creativity.

The winning dish was orange glazed pork with a black bean and wild mushroom cake topped...

FSD Resources