Go Big or Go Home – Tips to Introduce a School Foodservice Pilot Program

Go Big or Go Home – Tips to Introduce a School Foodservice Pilot Program

Have you heard the old saying “”If you build it, they will come”? It centers around the premise that after a certain point, we no longer need to put in effort. As it relates to our work, we will be on cruise control. This notion may prove disastrous in the FNS arena.

There is no time for slumber. Constant interaction with “the customer” is vital to our success. Gathering feedback for continuous improvement can prove extremely beneficial.

Consider these tips to get things moving in the right direction:

TIP#1 -Start Small:

Yes…Small. When Ingenious Culinary Concepts is hired by a school district to support their efforts, we believe in starting with a pilot program of some sort.

For example, when we suggest considering specific marketing strategies, we start by implementing the process in two schools maximum. This technique helps in determining the feasibility of a full-scale implementation and helps to uncover any potential problems, on a smaller scale. Additional benefits of a pilot program include the ability to make changes quicker and more efficiently when they are being made through only one or two schools.

There is no need to “build an airplane while it is flying.” Take “Breakfast in the Classroom”, for instance. It would be much easier to organize a rollout that involves the intricate details of getting the food to the classroom so that students are fed, fueled and ready to learn. This is the opportunity to “test” our plan and determine if it is realistic and workable within our current environment and situation. Through a pilot program, we can discover the benefits and challenges of a full-scale roll out.

When would you “Go Big” you ask? The Kick Off! Once the kinks are worked out and solutions (for roadblocks and challenges have been found). This is the time to make an impression that lasts. Here we can gain the customer’s attention and get everyone excited about the new endeavor. This is where we suggest you put on a show for them! Go all out.

TIP#2-Count Down:

Make sure you do a countdown to the new initiative. Give hints about what is coming without “fully” letting them know EXACTLY what is coming. Create an element of surprise. You could even create an activity or promo where stakeholders guess what is coming. Be creative and have fun!

TIP#3-Fully Commit:

Ensure you and your staff are fully committed. “Buy-in” is essential to move the program forward. Let them know what is taking place and that you would really appreciate a front line staff member’s opinion to make it a success. You always want to keep everyone in the loop and involved to eliminate excuses/roadblocks to success.

Don’t be afraid to fail. I once read, “If you aren’t failing often, then you are not trying hard enough to succeed”. You have little to lose and everything to gain when you use a pilot program approach. Going big (the smart way), starts with small steps! Good luck and let me know how it goes.


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