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What checks schools should be considering for their catering operation

Equipment 


The preparation of student’s dishes and the equipment needed needs to be thoroughly evaluated and implemented in order to receive the best results from a school canteen. School caterers should look for interesting equipment that will produce the menu you need. It’s a good idea to research local health codes and consider work flow and flexibility in case your needs change. Always involve the chef or head cook in your decision making, after all they will be using the equipment.


Maintaining your current equipment and making sure it is first class condition is essential. There would be nothing worse than equipment failure during the busy lunch time period; regular servicing will help to prolong the lifetime of the equipment.


Utilising multi-faceted equipment will also help school caterers perform efficiently - for example, the combination oven is one piece of equipment in particular that has taken the catering industry by storm, especially within education environments, and is revolutionary to almost any school kitchen.


Design 


People, in particular students, eat with their eyes, so choosing the right design for the school canteen is essential in providing the right environment. Enticing students with trendy serving stations and an innovative self-serve layout is something to consider in order to maximise usage of the catering operation. 


Depending on the size of the school and how many of those students dine in, a catering operation would need to consider how many seating spaces are needed. 


Talking with your pupils to give them chance to put their opinion across in a forum-style event will allow them to chat about their likes, dislikes and lifestyle choices is another way to evaluate how the canteen operates


Lower coffee tables and comfy sofas for a snack type coffee haven is an arrangement to consider, as well as self serve areas where the pupils can get hands-on. Decorating the area in on-trend colours, lighting and accessories is a way the school catering operation can draw students to the dining area.


However, it’s also key to consider the design of the cooking area so the school caterers feel comfortable and can perform efficiently, this could be implemented through visual prepping areas. It’s important that these areas are also health and safety compliant. 


Menu 


The design can be enticing, the equipment can be high-performing, but if the menu is not appealing, students are unlikely to dine in. Both the taste and nutritional value of the food is important in sustaining students. 


Foods from the five primary food groups including vegetables, fruit, dairy such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, bread, rice, pasta, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and beans should all be featured on the school menu; as it is these foods which will contribute a substantial amount of nutrients to their diet and should be consumed on a daily basis.


Having many options for all varying allergies, intolerances and diets is also crucial in ensuring your kitchen is suitable for all the students in the school. 


If you are looking for support on catering equipment, back-of-house design, or any more of our services for your school or higher-education facility give us a call on 01472 352033.


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