A Specialist’s View on School Foodservice
A Q&A with Gina Fero, K-12 Specialist, The Fischer Group
Q. What challenges you do see currently facing K-12 foodservice?
Gina Fero: I think the biggest problem is that we don’t know what the new administration’s going to do with current [school lunch] programs. There’s a lot of talk about block grants, which could really negatively affect the program because every state would be running their own program.
The new meal pattern is also tough. We need to be feeding the kids food that we know they’ll eat and that’s always a challenge. You need good equipment to be able to do that.
Q. How are students’ tastes changing?
GF: Kids have been to the local malls, universities and stadiums. They have a more sophisticated palate and they know what they like.
Q. Are you seeing more schools do their prep and cooking ahead of time and rethermalizing later?
GF: I see more and more districts creating a few “fast-scratch” signature items, and that sometimes involves rethermalizing and holding. There’s no way that you could make something fresh in 20 minutes for anywhere from 300 up to 800 students.
Q. How can FWE products help K-12 foodservice work more efficiently?
GF: Having a good rethermalizer and good holding cabinet are key to every K-12 operation. It’s essential to get the quality food out.
FWE has the right staff to ensure you’re going to get a quality product. They can look at a district’s menu and help fit the right piece of equipment to meet the district’s needs.