When Lorrie Goodfellow took over as foodservice director for Lee Public Schools in Lee, Mass., the program had just closed out its 2015 fiscal year with a $10,000 deficit. In 2017, the program ended its fiscal year with a $21,560 surplus. Here, Goodfellow discusses the changes she made to the program that led to its turnaround and shares advice for other FSDs working to get their programs in the black.
Q: What changes did you make to the food program when you became the FSD at Lee Public Schools?
A: I started by working with the managers and going through the kitchens organizing, purging and rearranging work space to make it more functional. For breakfast, hot meals and a yogurt parfait bar were added to the selections, and the serving hours for breakfast were expanded. New lunch menu items were introduced at all schools, as well as a salad bar and grab-and-go items at the middle and high school. Special attention was paid to inventory and ordering to keep stock fresh and rotated, resulting in minimized waste.
Q: What components of your food program do you think have driven the turnaround?
A: Expanding the breakfast hours and offerings at the middle and high school has made a significant impact. Breakfast sales are up 39%. Lunch sales have also increased at both schools due to new options and an increased focus on viewing our students as customers.
Q: What tips do you have for other FSDs who are looking to grow their foodservice program into a financially stable operation?
A: Use production records as an ordering guide and keep close tabs on your inventory to avoid over-purchasing. Incorporate USDA foods and Department of Defense produce into your menus for quality, budget-friendly meals. Stress the importance of customer service with your staff and also make them aware of expenditures and savings.