Lisa Banner

Lisa Banner's drive and motivation has made her a success at (The Nutrition Group Inc.), Montour School District.

Why Selected?

According to Kevin Leninsky, foodservice director trainee for The Nutrition Group Inc., Lisa has transformed dining services at Montour School District by:

•Opening the Spartan Café, an area where students and teachers can get á la carte items during and shortly after the school day

•Being very visible, not only at school events but also at charities and fundraisers in the community

•Pinpointing areas for improvement and working on committees, which demonstrates her commitment to the district’s success 

Details

Senior Foodservice Director, (The Nutrition Group Inc.), Montour School District, McKees Rocks, PA
Age: 27
Education: B.S. in hospitality management from Youngstown State University
Years at organization: 5

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

t the high school we added a coffee shop, The Spartan Café. I took on the opening of that for service to our students and staff. We were going for an upscale café feel, something that is much different from the stigma of traditional cafeteria food. It’s been hugely successful, and we have others touring the café and mirroring what we’ve done here in their locations.
 

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I started at a local restaurant, then a long-term care facility, a chain restaurant and a school district. I’ve seen the right way to manage. I’m able to infuse my past experience to manage my staff.
 

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Don’t let college interfere with your education. College doesn’t entitle you to anything. The real world helps you progress. 

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

I started out in a small rural Ohio district and I transferred to a larger district. I had to leave behind the students and my staff. I moved to a larger district. Now I have more students and more staff and I had to leave Ohio. 

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

When I visit the schools and the students remember me. I do nutrition education in the classes and the kids will run up to me and give me hugs when they see me. They tell me how they tried something new to eat and how they took the information that I told them about home. That’s what we’re here to do, to make that connection between foodservice and home.
 

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I was just promoted so I’d like to continue learning and I’m excited to grow my career with The Nutrition Group. 

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

I was leaving the coffee shop and walking through the high school. The security guard stopped me and asked for my hall pass. He thought I was a student. It’s happened a couple of times.  

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
to-go coffee

We have a fixed kiosk that not only sells coffee, but also protein smoothies, grab-and-go reimbursable meals and other a la carte items. We used updated equipment like what is used in Starbucks and incorporated school colors. It is a very popular addition to one of our high schools, and we are planning on expanding it to two additional high schools.

Menu Development
sam kass talking menu directions

Sam Kass, former White House senior policy advisor for nutrition policy and executive director of the Let’s Move campaign, spoke at FSD’s MenuDirections conference in February.

Q: What’s one of the biggest food-related problems facing our country?

A: Obesity is the No. 1 threat to national security—20% of what we’re spending on healthcare is due to obesity. This isn’t a policy problem. The root of our challenge is culture, and what we value in our food. The healthy choice needs to be the easy choice.

Q: What are some important steps to modeling healthy eating and creating...
Menu Development
three sisters salad

“Everyone is doing Thai in college dining,” says Patrick McElroy, campus executive chef for Bon Appetit at Washington University in St. Louis. So he set out to “push the envelope” on ethnic cuisine and offer Native American dishes—a move that had support from the American Indian Student Association. But McElroy didn’t realize the challenge ahead. “I wanted to maintain the integrity and tradition of the food, but there were very few recipes,” he says. “I had to do a lot of research.” To develop the menu, he enlisted the help of chef Nephi Craig, founder of the Native American Culinary...

Managing Your Business
dancing fruit happy

When editor Jill Failla and I sat down to discuss ideas for this month’s cover story, data from FoodService Director’s sister company Technomic was the spark that lit the flame of conversation. She told me the most recent Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report had found that consumers are more willing to order and pay more for items they think are both healthy and tasteful. My questions: OK, what does that look like in practice? How does it factor into operators’ decision-making processes? And what the heck do we call that phenomenon?

After tossing around some ideas, we had it: the...

FSD Resources