Are Your Free and Reduced Lunch Students Going Hungry?

Are Your Free and Reduced Lunch Students Going Hungry?

Are Your Free and Reduced Lunch Students Going Hungry?

Student participation in the school foodservice program is always a challenge. How much bigger does that problem appear when you realize you are only feeding 10% of the 80% of your students that are on the free or reduced program?

That’s the problem we faced. There were obviously huge holes in the program at this particular school if we can’t even give away the food! Those students are telling us they would rather go hungry or wait until they leave school to eat.

This was a really hard pill for us to swallow. Instead of hanging our heads, we went to work finding ways to solve these challenges.

We started the process by hosting several focus groups and surveys to figure out why the program wasn’t bringing the students to the cafeteria. One of the things that stood out for us was the way we served the students, our level of customer service was lacking. The cashiers and servers were not as friendly as they could be, and we had to find ways to turn their frowns into smiles in order to better engage students.

We also found that making some subtle uniform changes made a very positive impact. Nothing we would probably have thought about on our own without the student input. This also led us to begin addressing students by name which made them feel more a part of the process.

A few minor changes in food presentation and we saw an incredible increase in student participation at all levels, including the free and reduced programs.

The smiles and changes in the staff’s attitude went a long way to increasing the department’s success. So much so the students wondered if we were mentally stable!

If you’re not ‘giving away free food’ in your department, make the adjustments necessary and have some fun doing it.

Kern Halls, School Foodservice Consultant and Chief Innovator of Ingenious Culinary Concepts, turns empty dining halls into gold mines of student activity! By seeking out and combining just the right “ingredients” to accomplish what many call impossible: Halls gets students to “want” to dine in your cafeterias!

For his FREE report, outlining Marketing Tips to help you generate additional revenue TODAY, a $197 value, please visit!


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