Like most of you, I receive SNA SmartBrief every day and in these articles are all sorts of suggestions and success stories. However, one thing I have learned in all my years in school foodservice is that one fix does not fit all districts. While one district successfully revamped their cafeterias to mimic mall food courts, you may not have the funds. Another district may have a beneficial relationship with neighboring farmers, but you are in a state with no approved farmers. The articles go on and on. What will work in your district? Only you can determine that, here are some guidelines that may help you.

First, research your local resources to see who can help you and for what price (maybe even for free).

Second, review your budget, do you have extra funds to initially support additional programs.

Third, share your ideas with your managers and staff, ask for their opinions. I have witnessed projects that were successful because the kitchen staff was more willing to contribute since it was partially “their” idea.

Fourth, announce the project to the school administration, parents and community. The perception of anything new will be better accepted if shared with all involved.

Fifth, always monitor and evaluate any new program. Once implemented, to have a true picture of its success, it has to be known that you are willing to tweak it to better meet the needs of your customers.

And lastly, always give positive recognition where it is deserved. All of us like to see our name associated with a successful venture