Success in a Time of Supply Chain and Staffing Shortages
This school year to some may seem longer than the last two years combined! Each day is a guessing game regarding which ordered items will be delivered. Many schools are also dealing with staffing shortages daily. In addition to these operational challenges, there seems to be a noticeable increase in student and parent complaints regarding food served.
Wow...such an incredibly stressful time to be in the business of school nutrition! Below are some tips to try as your work through these challenges.
Tips on Making Menu Substitutions
Ways to make your menu work with all the product and staff shortages:
Simplify your menus: implement a cycle menu that is 2 - 4 weeks.
Substitutions: select 10 entree items that have been readily available from your distributor. Discuss with your rep that when items are shorted to send one of these substitutes instead.
Commodity items: create several recipes using a commodity staple like ground beef. If the plan was to serve beef tacos and the shells are shorted, switch to another ground beef recipe like spaghetti with meat sauce using items that may already be in storage.
Purchase in advance: if storage space is available adjust ordering time. Purchase food that can be stored a month or two before service to have in stock.
Staffing shortage: temporarily change the menu of the day to a less labor intensive meal.
Communication Is the Key
Although the struggles are well known to everyone working in school nutrition, the community outside may not fully understand.
Communicate with your students, parents, staff and administration the real impact supply chain shortages may have on the menu.
Post a message on your social media and school website regarding possible menu changes.
Share news articles on social media that illustrate the supply chain struggles around the country.
Continue to highlight all the amazing work your team does every single day! This can be as simple as posting pictures or short videos of your meals on social media. Your community needs to see the mountains that are moved daily to serve your kids.
Help is Available
Remember your peers and colleagues are experiencing many of the same challenges right now. Reach out to them and brainstorm additional solutions. Your distributors are struggling with product procurement and delivery, continue to work with them to find suitable solutions.
My K12 Resource is here to help as well! We offer several services that can help with your program operations. Click on the schedule a call button to set up a time for a brief call. During this call we can discuss how My K12 Resource can assist with your program needs.