Farmington High School nutrition team leans into customization craze with latest concept

Make-Your-Own offers students a weekly themed lunch option that is built around customization.
Nutrition team at Farmington High School
The nutrition team at Farmington High School recently launched Make-Your-Own a new customizable lunch option for students. | Photo courtesy of K-12 by Elior

Earlier this month, high school students at Farmington Municipal Schools in Farmington, New Mexico were treated to a new customizable option during lunch.  

Students had their choice of a burrito, nachos or tacos and could further customize their selection with an array of ingredients including, chicken, pork and more.  

“It’s kind of like a Chipotle-style Mexican bar,” says Farmington Municipal Schools Food Service Director Skye Farmer.

The offering is part of the nutrition team’s new Make-Your-Own concept which allows students to have greater control over what their lunch looks like.  

Launching the concept

The idea for Make-Your-Own came from K-12 by Elior Resident District Manager Paula Szczepanek, who was looking for a way to not only keep costs low, but also increase participation.

She thought the idea would be popular with students since it gave them more choice.  

“[Make-Your-Own] would allow students to do whatever they wanted to do for lunch,” she says.

After receiving the go ahead from School Nutrition Program Coordinator Maria Johnson, Farmer and Szczepanek launched the concept at the district's high schools since the cafeterias had a food court set-up that lent itself well to a build-your-own bar.

Make-Your-Own is offered daily at lunch. Each week, a different theme is chosen to keep things fresh for students.

Along with a Mexican bar, other themes for the concept include a ramen bar as well as an Italian bar where students customize their own pasta dish.

Expanding the themes

Although the Make-Your-Own is only about two weeks old, it has already received positive reviews from students.

“I went and visited during the Mexican bar, and it was a huge hit,” says Szczepanek.

Looking towards the future, Szczepanek and Farmer are considering expanding the concept to the district’s middle schools as well.

For now, though, the team is just focusing on high school students and is looking at branching out into other themes like a deli bar. One of the benefits of the concept, Szczepanek says, is that almost any type of cuisine can work.

“Any type of theme will work,” she notes. “The possibilities are endless.”



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