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fresh eyes

Not Your Mother's School Lunch: How 'Fresh Eyes' Transformed Rapid City Area Schools

Not Your Mother's School Lunch: How 'Fresh Eyes' Transformed Rapid City Area Schools

“When you think about school lunch, oftentimes a woman with a hairnet and scooper is what people imagine,” says Janelle Peterson, Manager of Student Nutrition for Rapid City Area Schools (RCAS). “That’s just the connotation---but we’re not your mother’s school lunch.”

Peterson developed and abides by the RCAS tagline, which promotes “ensuring a successful tomorrow through extraordinary moments today.” She and her team feel a responsibility to not only monitor food safety, but to deliver a complete dining experience.

“We see the kids every day,” says Peterson. “If they choose to dine with us, we can give them a friendly smile or listen when they’re having a bad day. It’s just so awesome to get that opportunity.”

PRO·TEAM PARTNERSHIP

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In 2017, RCAS sought to blast through school lunch stereotypes by redefining its brand.

They had several ideas for improvement but weren’t sure where to begin. Which ideas were viable, which were impractical, and how should they prioritize? Most importantly, what was missing?

RCAS knew they needed a fresh pair of eyes.

With the expert guidance of Pro•Team Foodservice Advisors, RCAS evaluated its staffing, menus, delivery systems, and marketing.  Here’s what they discovered through Pro•Team’s “Fresh Eyes” review.

RCAS PRIMARY CHALLENGES

1. BRANDING. “We have 23 schools and I did not want 23 separate silos,” explains Peterson. “I wanted a global service.” That meant creating a cohesive dining experience for students, from kindergarten all the way up to the 12th grade.

2. CHANGE AVERSION. Some staff were concerned about the loss of school identity. If dining services didn’t feature their mascot and colors, for example, wouldn’t this undermine the school’s unique attributes?

3. SATELLITE SCHOOLS.  Because RCAS has 15 sites without kitchens, two high schools shared the responsibility of food preparation. While this worked well for food distribution, there were concerns about the consistency of the food product going out. 

4. SUMMERTIME. Students benefited from the RCAS feeding program if they lived close to the sites. For those who lived faraway, however, food access remained an issue. RCAS considered food trucks as a possible solution.

PRO·TEAM SOLUTIONS

1. ENDORSEMENT. Peterson needed data to substantiate change. Because she had the backing of Pro•Team (and a comprehensive report, to boot), she was able to write a five-year strategic plan. Her plan subsequently convinced stakeholders to reform the RCAS student nutrition program.

2. MARKETING NUDGE. With the expert advice of Pro•Team, RCAS branded its “Fresh Choice Café,” which carries its own logo, signage, and signature offerings. Now students can recognize the brand and associate it with consistency.

3. CONSOLIDATE AND AUTOMATE. Pro•Team advised consolidating meal preparation to one school and purchasing a machine to overwrap meals (which had previously been done by hand). As a result, one school was freed up to focus on signature line items, and greater efficiency and food consistency were achieved.

4. LEVERAGING GOOD IDEAS. Summer food trucks were an innovative solution, and Pro•Team encouraged taking it a step further. They advised RCAS to capture the open campus students, which RCAS did by adding a six-week program in the fall. “Students are just blown away,” shares Peterson. “It makes them feel really special.”

5. SUCCESSION. Pro•Team envisioned five years---and beyond. They suggested a succession plan, which would leave the program in good hands after Peterson’s departure. Peterson has since hired an assistant manager.


ARE YOU READY TO TAKE YOUR PROGRAM TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

Contact an advisor to discuss how “Fresh Eyes” will give your program a whole new look.

info@proteamadvisors.com

Toll Free: 844-662-3767


A Case for the Busy School Nutrition Team: How ‘Fresh Eyes’ Helped Cincinnati Public Schools

A Case for the Busy School Nutrition Team: How ‘Fresh Eyes’ Helped Cincinnati Public Schools

The food service program for Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) holds itself to a high standard: with an award-winning director, innovative practices, and a fiscally sound structure, Cincinnati’s team is a study in possibilities.

“We wanted to take our program to the next level but we didn’t know how,” said Jessica Shelly, CPS Food Services Director. “We needed a new perspective to validate barriers we thought were there, and to identify things we were doing really well.”

CPS needed a strategy for growth but there were veritable obstacles. Staff time was limited, and resource constraints were a factor. Further, leadership perspectives were just too close to the source, rendering an objective evaluation almost impossible.

What they needed was a fresh pair of eyes.

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PRO·TEAM PARTNERSHIP

Pro·Team arrived to conduct a “Fresh Eyes” review, which was purchased through the redemption of Cool School Points. Thankfully for Shelly and her team, the “Fresh Eyes” report was more than just a stuffy document---it was the impetus they had been waiting for.

CPS PRIMARY CHALLENGES

  1. MARKETING. “We struggled with establishing an identity and a level of respect,” said Shelly. CPS needed a marketing strategy---not just for revenue but to approach operations from a holistic perspective and embrace the “Why?” of what they were doing.

  2. EXPOSURE AND DISCLOSURE.  “It’s not easy opening yourself up for criticism,” said Shelly, “even if it does benefit your organization.” This is true for all institutions looking to survey strengths and weaknesses; it can feel like an outsider stepping in with a microscope.

  3. THE RISK OF HIRING THE WRONG CONSULTANT. Outside consultants might supply what’s theoretically “right,” but if those recommendations aren’t feasible, then it’s nothing more than a report. CPS Food Services needed to know it was hiring the right people.

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PRO·TEAM SOLUTIONS

  1. A STRONG ALLIANCE. Pro·Team gracefully entered the CPS Food Services arena by establishing a shared mission. This wasn’t about looking for flaws; this was about identifying opportunities. Pro·Team’s “circle of safety” assuaged concerns and allowed staff to engage in honest dialogue. Consequently, an accurate assessment could be executed.

  2. HOMEWORK. CPS Food Services chose Pro·Team because of its consultants. These experts earned their wisdom from experience, which means Pro·Team advice was grounded in feasibility. Consultants took policies, procedures, and resources into consideration so that their recommendations had the best chance of success.

  3. A FRESH ASSET. The “Fresh Eyes” review was packed with creative solutions for short- and long-term impact. Facts, figures, and marketing strategies filled the pages, which meant decisions could be tied to data. It was the ROI document CPS needed to influence leaders and stakeholders.

  4. A FRESH START. CPS Food Services took immediate action after the review. A formal request was made for two additional staff members and, thanks to Pro·Team, that request was supported by ROI data. Likewise, CPS now has a marketing strategy, which was the missing ingredient for advancing their program.

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE YOUR PROGRAM TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

Contact an advisor to discuss how “Fresh Eyes” will give your program a whole new look.

info@proteamadvisors.com

Toll Free: 844-662-3767

Cafeteria Makeover

Cafeteria Makeover

Are you a fan of the reality home remodeling shows? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a School Cafeteria “Fixer Upper” show? Do you wish you could “love it or list it" with your school cafeteria?

Have you heard about the Fresh Eyes Experience?

Have you heard about the Fresh Eyes Experience?

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine walking into your children’s school cafeteria or your workplace cafeteria. What picture forms in your mind? How inviting is the space? Now consider sharing this “picture” with someone that hasn’t been to your cafeteria… What messages are shared with this picture?