Merchandisers to Help Your School Nutrition Program

By Federal Industries May 23, 2022

One way school nutrition programs can increase participation and revenue is to provide a wider range of food items, and one way to easily provide a wider range of menu options is to move them to a point-of-service that doesn’t require consistent staffing. Essentially, schools can use some of the same methods used in retail and grocery stores to attract more students – grab n go merchandisers.

High profile, well-lit merchandisers in both heated and refrigerated varieties can provide the ability to display and serve a wide range of appealing foods, and this is a proven method to increase profitability and participation that spans a range of operation types.

School Nutrition Programs See Huge Revenue Losses

The decline in students participating in school lunches has led to a $2.1 billion loss in revenue. Congress has helped defray some of the cost, though individual school districts and schools have been left to make up their income shortfalls. As school districts search for ways to make up for the loss of revenue lost by the school closures caused by COVID-19, they are looking for new ways and reviving old ways of raising revenue.

The two main revenue streams for schools are federal reimbursement for all meals that qualify and from à la carte items. With the number of students participating in the program much lower than they were pre-COVID, making up the lost revenue is a struggle for many school districts. Due to these losses, they are searching for new ways to make up for the loss.

Increase Sales Opportunities With New Products

It takes creative thinking to draw in those students who are reluctant to participate in the lunch plans, and this can even be extended to teachers and staff. As mentioned earlier, one way is to simply expand menu offerings in a way that doesn’t require additional burdens on foodservice staff.

Offering grab-n-go salads, sandwiches, and similarly packaged foods can make service easy for both students and staff alike, even allowing for significant meal preparation to happen during the slow times of the day. In many ways, this is the way retailers, and some restaurants increase revenue, so there’s no reason why these same techniques can’t work for school nutrition programs.

Here are some creative things to consider:

●      À la Carte Items

●      Catering

●      Holding Fundraisers

●      Catering Fundraisers

●      Vending Machines

●      Upgrade Meals by Adding a Second Entrée


Some of these ideas will not require adding new equipment, while others will. However, if you plan well, new equipment will pay for itself quickly while giving you an added revenue stream.

Merchandisers Drive Sales And Profits

Offering new and exciting à la carte menu items, and second entrées is a way to increase sales immediately. Offering special meals to faculty and staff will give you immediate profit without adding staff or equipment. The installation of refrigerated, and heated merchandisers drives sales even further.

The added equipment will give you a platform from which to launch new ideas for daily food offerings that will increase your sales. You can then hire more staff and add more items to your menu. In addition, offering enticing foods to students, faculty, and staff with the ability to come back for seconds and à la carte items will help you with your revenue problems.

 School Foodservice

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