On Friday, May 3, food service professionals will be celebrating the 7th Annual School Lunch Hero Day. This day provides the perfect opportunity to recognize those individuals who work so diligently throughout the year to serve nutritious and delicious meals to our students. The impressions they make on each child that comes through the cafeteria is remarkable.
Earlier this month, school nutrition professionals from across the country gathered together in Austin, TX for our 2019 Connect training event. This is the second year we've held a training conference that combines all of Heartland's family of products and we had a fantastic response from our attendees!
This week schools and programs nationwide are celebrating all that afterschool professionals do each day! It's a time to recognize those who work with students during out-of-school hours, including community partners, afterschool program staff, and youth and child care workers.
That's a great question and likely one that many nutrition programs may not be able to answer. It’s estimated that K-12 schools throw away roughly $1.2 billion dollars worth of food each year! One study found that K-12 schools in Minnesota generated 483,520 lbs. of waste in a given school day and the most prominent category of items filling up the trash cans was food waste.
In the '90s, the school nutrition industry started to embrace computerized Point of Sale (POS) systems as a way to better track what was being sold and make it easier to manage student accounts. Today, many school nutrition professionals believe the biggest value of their POS system is at the serving line. While this is true (after all, that is where the transaction is created), the real power of a POS system is in the reporting.
Reports are often underutilized and can provide more information than many folks realize. Beyond the basics of how many meals have been served or the total sales for a given period, reports can help you identify opportunities for operational improvement or areas for increased participation.
Making sure your serving lines are properly configured to reflect the way your schools serve meals and à la carte items will ensure you get the most from your POS reports.
Many schools are incorporating technology into their lesson plans to further engage their students and get them excited about learning. Some examples are so innovative that they've caught the attention of local news outlets and gone viral!
Are you curious about using digital signage in your cafeterias? You’re not alone - the digital signage industry in the U.S. is anticipated to reach $6.90 billion by 2025. That’s quite a jump considering the current digital signage market is only half that amount today. So why the big shift?
Well, let's think about the students you serve each day. This new generation of students, sometimes referred to as iGen or Gen Z, are digital natives that have never known a time without access to a smartphone or tablet. They grew up with technology at their fingertips and the ability to consume information from a screen. The iGen generation has grown accustomed to highly-visual, personalized communication; so it only makes sense that your cafeterias and schools should follow suit.
There are a number of benefits supporting the addition digital signage to your cafeteria. But before you purchase, here are 3 things your nutrition program should consider:
Schools and parent communication have reached a crossroad in recent years thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and mobile apps. Currently, 77% of all U.S. adults own a smartphone and nearly 55% of them receive news alerts on their phones. As this trend toward mobile communication continues, technology companies are fast developing mobile apps that cater to the needs of school communities. Now teachers, parents, and students can communicate and collaborate more easily without having to rely on more traditional forms of communication like phone calls and letters.
Implementing a new point of sale system in your cafeterias may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right plan in place, you can keep your implementation on track to ensure a smooth rollout.
SNA's 47th Legislative Action Conference (LAC) is in the books and I was thrilled to be in attendance, along with several other Heartland team members. This is one of my favorite school nutrition events of the year, and it's a great opportunity for advocates to come together for the betterment of students. Here are some of my top takeaways from this year's event.