Industry Focus – Catering within the Education Sector

All of us have positive and negative memories of our school meals with reference to them often being a source of fun.  For other children, there is a much more serious side in that, it may well be the only nutritious meal that they get in a day.  The UK Government has gone to some lengths, through the introduction of their Universal Infant Free School Meals and Pupil Premium strategies. The provision of healthy meals at every level of education plays a vital role in the wellbeing and development of children. 

School Lunch Time

The catering function within any educational establishment is a very unique environment.  Nowhere else are there queues of hundreds or thousands of hungry little-people requiring fed in such a condensed time-frame.  Some UK secondary schools, with over 1000 kids, are trying to get lunch completed in just 1 hour.  With an average of 60% in hot meal uptake, that’s a lot of mouths to serve within the timeframe.  The smell of cabbage wafting through the corridors at 9am is not uncommon.  

Private schooling aside, catering staff are often working in an underfunded and outdated environment with the school Senior Leadership Team having to spread resource across lots of key areas. The tendering process for an outsourced catering service doesn’t always help, with most being awarded on quality and price. However, given the budget constraints within most schools, the latter is often the deciding factor. This can put a lot of pressure on the catering staff as they try to make their budget go as far as possible, whilst also trying to source, prepare and create nutritious and appetising meals for hungry children. 

Colleges and Universities are no different where management have to balance quality with cost effectiveness. Keeping costs down so that their target customer base can afford the products is a key consideration, especially as many compare living expenses when trying to choose which further education establishment to attend.

There are significant savings to be made, with an average 200 meal school recouping approximately £600 per week when compared with old technologies.   

Being so outdated can also mean that the school, college or university kitchen is incredibly inefficient, costing educational establishments much more the longer they keep it in place.  Like technologies in other areas, the advancements have meant that they pay for themselves via their efficiency.  These innovations can also:

–              reduce the amount equipment required

–              improve workflow

–              reduce labour costs

–              auto-complete HACCP documentation

There are significant savings to be made, with an average 200 meal school recouping approximately £600 per week when compared with old technologies.   

The challenge when selecting the right equipment for a kitchen within the education sector, comes down to ensuring that it is as efficient as possible and robust enough to give the required life expectancy.  The team at Cook:Chill will be more than happy to work with you through this process, guiding and supporting you all the way.  As independent suppliers of commercial catering and refrigeration equipment, we are not tied to a particular brand or manufacturer which allows us greater scope to work to your budget.

Call the Team today on 01179 646 497.

Leave a Reply