5 tips to get back to school ready
As the summer break draws to a close, the excitement of a new school year is just around the corner. For school caterers, this means it’s time to gear up and prepare for the bustling back-to-school season. With the return of students, careful planning and organisation are key to ensuring a smooth and successful transition.
In this blog, we’ll explore ultimate tips to get back to school ready for school caterers to effectively prepare for the back-to-school rush and provide nutritious meals that contribute to a thriving learning environment.
- Preparation is key!
- Expect the unexpected…
- Think cost saving
- Communication is the way to go
- Make it an occasion!
1) Preparation is key
Preparation is key when starting the new term. From preparing your food offering to organising your kitchen, it is important that everything is in the best order it can be. This will help create a seamless transition back into the new school year and ensure that you are being as efficient as possible when the exciting rush begins all over again.
As it is a new term, it is also a great opportunity to re-evaluate your food offering and prepare your menus in advance. As the students enter a new year, some may not have yet tried the school’s canteen offering. This brings a great new opportunity to showcase some inspiring dishes to not only create a great atmosphere in your canteen, but to also engage with students to help increase your food uptake.
You can experiment with fun new ways of serving up your meals like a burrito bar, or perhaps create a brand new ‘Frankenstein’ dish that will get your students talking – fusion is a huge trend this year! To help you get prepared, we also have our three week menu cycle. You can view this here.
2) Expect the unexpected
With the current climate, it is important that you always expect the unexpected. With food shortages impacting us all, it is crucial that your menu is adaptable and that you can be flexible with your offering.
Although you can’t plan for staff shortages or sickness, you should also have a clear plan in place in case it occurs. This way, it will have minimal impact on your students’ meal times, and overall provide a more efficient working environment. If you need further support on navigating the current climate, see how to unlock your menu here.
3) Think cost saving
Budgets will be stretched more than ever this academic year. With this in mind, it is important that cost saving is at the forefront of your mind as you begin the new term. Simple tricks, tips and swaps can make a significant impact on your costings.
For example, when you arrive into the kitchen, think about your energy usage and if you have to turn on all the appliances first thing. To help you further navigate cost saving, we are developing a Schools cost saving guide. Launching in September, this will be filled with lots of ideas to help stretch ingredients further and make your budget more flexible.
4) Communication is the way to go!
Think of new ways to help communicate your offering and news. By letting parents know what is on the menu, it can increase school meal uptake and can help land your concepts to the right audiences.
It is worth having a meeting with the teams to ensure you are getting your message out there! Opening a line of communication with parents is also a great way to gain feedback, ask questions and even ask them what they would like to see on the menu in the future! By being more open with this it will also help ensure that all the parents have a positive perception of school meals.
5) Make it an occasion
As we enter a brand new School year, it is important to add excitement where possible. Why not make it an occasion? All the students will be looking forward to being reunited with friends, be in new classrooms and meet new members of their class.
To help create joyful mealtimes, why not open your canteen with a bold new theme! By decorating the canteen and aligning your menu with the decorations, you will see an uplift in excitement from them all. Not only this, it will show off your skills to the students to then in turn, grow your meal uptake numbers.
To help you develop a theme, we have put together an array of theme day inspiration guides! They’re are filled with tips, posters, activity suggestions, and most importantly recipe inspiration. You can view all our guides here.
We wish you a great start to the new academic year and hope that these tips to get back to school ready for September are helpful. For more support and tips to get back to school ready, please do get in touch with your account manager – we are here to help you navigate the new year and support you through any challenges.
Read more on how we are School Food Suppliers – Catering for schools across the UK here.
Be sure to check out our previous blogs on supporting your schools too!