Thinking Through Equipment Solutions for Breakfast After the Bell

Choosing the right equipment is essential to the success of your breakfast-in-the-classroom program. From menu development to delivery method, your choice of kitchen equipment determines the types of foods you can prepare, hold, deliver, and serve to the classroom.

Equipment goes beyond simply preparing and cooking breakfast; you will need equipment to execute delivery, classroom cleanup, ands to assist custodial staff with cleanup. Even with the best planning, some equipment choices fail to live up to expectations. Let’s take a quick look at a few of our funded districts, and how they addressed ongoing equipment needs and challenges.

Livingston Parish Public Schools, Louisiana

According to Sommer Purvis, administrator of special programs for child nutrition in Livingston Parish Public Schools, the department experienced several failed attempts at choosing the right cooler for transporting breakfast to the classroom.

“We started with a 100-quart cooler on wheels, but we learned the weight was too heavy,” said Purvis. “Having to bend in half to drag the cooler across campus was not feasible for our staff—not to mention the wheels didn’t hold up! Next, we ordered an ice chest on a stand. This was easier to push because it was waist-height, but the base and wheels didn’t hold up any better—maybe worse! We finally realized using an ice chest without wheels and using a flatbed cart to transport it made things much easier.”

Garfield Heights City Schools, Ohio

The school nutrition staff in Garfield Heights City Schools wanted to include scratch- and speed-scratch cooking offerings on the breakfast after the bell menu they were planning. While shopping for overwrap machines they realized purchasing two, smaller overwrap machines would cost less—and take up less physical space—in the high school kitchen, where BIC production would be centralized.

“Buying the right piece of equipment is important,” said Sarah Caston. “Two smaller machines saved space, and dollars, and we could move them out of the way when it was time to start lunch preparations. When choosing equipment, I recommend looking at space, storage, and making sure it and fill the capacity of meals you need—that’s important.”

Not only did the new overwrap machines increase the ability of school nutrition staff to produce scratch- and speed-scratch recipes, the students also appreciated the improved presentation and increase in options.

Alexandria City Public Schools, Virginia

Like many schools, increased storage was required to start a direct delivery breakfast after the bell program at F.C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria City Public Schools, Virginia.

“The…walk-in cooler (was) about $96,000,” said ACPS grants officer Greg Tardieu. As the district’s “professional seeker of school funds,” Tardieu notied there is “never enough money” for schools and credits the Partners for BIC grant with providing the funding required to complete such a large-scale upgrade. Without the ability to store large quantities of bulky items, such as milk, breakfast after the bell would be challenging to implement.

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