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

Managing Your Business
management team

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event , held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’...

Ideas and Innovation
song break

Once per month in a daily huddle, we dedicate a few minutes for the staff to sing a short song. The staff has responded so positively to this. They now bring costumes and other props. It's a few short minutes, but the payoff has been tremendous.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code