A Guide to Saving on Labor in California Public School Foodservice

2 min
Mar 30, 2023

School nutrition directors across the state of California face a range of challenges. From tightening budgets to figuring out how to cut costs on ingredients without compromising quality, it's never an easy job. When you factor in the current labor shortage, it gets even more difficult.

Thankfully, advances in foodservice technology provide schools with multiple ways to cut costs without compromising the quality of the service they provide their students. Schools can utilize cutting-edge tech to streamline operations, optimize staffing levels, and improve overall efficiency without compromising on quality and nutrition standards. 

Streamlining Operations

One of the best ways for California school cafeterias to save money without compromising quality is by streamlining their operations. Schools can do so by simplifying their menus, allowing them to focus on making food with cheaper ingredients that are quicker to make. They can try new menu options and get feedback from students to ensure that their simpler dishes are still just as tasty.

Optimizing Staffing Levels

Schools also need to find the correct staff level to minimize costs. If the school kitchen is understaffed, the school will likely have to pay the current employees time-and-a-half to take on extra shifts. Also, the quality of the food would likely suffer. Of course, schools that have too many cafeteria employees will be wasting funds from their limited budgets. Thankfully, many staffing software programs can help organizations find their optimum staffing level quickly and easily.

Improving Efficiency

Any organization that needs to cut costs while maintaining quality has to focus on becoming more efficient. School kitchens are no different. Schools can easily increase their kitchens' efficiency by obtaining equipment designed for this purpose. For example, adding counter protectors to their serving counters makes it easy for the staff to change their service style without needing to use tools to transform the counter.

Utilizing Technology

Utilizing advanced technology in as many areas as possible should be a focus for schools that are looking to cut costs while maintaining quality. Thankfully, foodservice equipment manufacturers are aware of the technological challenges school kitchens face and have designed many products specifically to help schools maximize their tight cafeteria budgets. For example, schools can get a food well that allows a single employee to serve up to six different dishes. 

Maintaining Quality and Nutrition Standards

If schools focus on following the strategies discussed in this article, they should be able to cut costs while still providing high-quality food for their students. In addition to these strategies, schools can also make no-cost changes to work procedures that further help employees maintain quality and nutrition standards. For example, schools can require cafeteria staff to regularly check ready-to-eat food to ensure it is kept at the proper serving temperature. This would be quick and easy if the school has already obtained a high-tech serving appliance like a food well.

Looking for more ways to help increase efficiencies in your school nutrition program? Start by downloading our free school nutrition resource guide.

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