David Magill, principal of Magill & Associates in San Francisco, has been a school foodservice consultant for more than 30 years. We asked him for a brief overview on the state of K-12 foodservice.
Q. What’s the biggest problem facing K-12 schools in terms of equipment?
David Magill: A lot of schools are saddled with older equipment that they have to make do with, and they’re making repairs on it. That comes back to tight budgets. The other issue is finding and keeping labor. There are two different levels of people in K-12 kitchens. First are the “lifers” who have been there forever. They love the kids and will do anything for them. But there are also a significant number of part-timers so there’s constant turnover.
Q. What are some of the differences, equipment-wise, between commercial operations and schools?
DM: In K-12, you’re dealing with very large quantities. A lot of kitchens utilize steam-jacketed kettles, but what I’m seeing used more is the tilting braising pan. I was in a school in southern California recently and saw a bank of combi-ovens. They’re a really good thing in kitchens because you put the food in, program it and away you go.
Q. Service styles are also changing in K-12, correct?
DM: Yes. There’s the traditional serving line but now you’ll also see service carts where you can get pizza, street tacos or salads. It’s hands-on and gets the kids involved. It gives them something to do besides looking at their cell phones and texting.
For more ideas on K-12 foodservice equipment and design, check out the stories on the following pages.
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Vollrath - A New Look for Beloit High School’s Cafeteria
FWE - A Specialist’s View on School Foodservice