February 27, 2017

We are often asked about our menu planning process. How do we manage to provide our students with healthy, innovative, and delicious school menus? It’s a cyclical process that involves careful planning, execution, evaluation, & modification. 

First, we plan

SNP’s combination of culinary expertise and nutrition knowledge is used to create cycle menus that incorporate numerous exciting flavors. Our chefs take into consideration MANY factors that ultimately affect the menu. Quality, cost, and availability of ingredients is paramount when planning. Menus are seasonal and weather patterns impact what is available from our growers and suppliers. For example, this winter’s extreme weather has produced frost and rain directly affecting California’s citrus crop, grapes, strawberries, and leafy greens. 

Also, quality of food changes after being transported and held for service, which is why each new menu item is taken on a test run in out delivery vans before making it onto the menu. 

Food trends are adapted to comply with the NSLP regulations and to maximize student satisfaction. 

Second, we execute

Recipes are developed, menu items are rigorously tested and tasted by the chefs who create them, and Registered Dietitians give their stamps of approval. 

Next, we evaluate

SNP uses several tools to evaluate student satisfaction.

  • Direct student feedback gathered daily from our servers
  • Social media
  • On site student focus groups 
  • Meal service records are used to track student receptivity 
  • Online ordering system data

Finally, we modify

Menus are constantly being honed based on our assessment. While we try to standardize our core menu, each school has its own personality an ultimately drives flavor profiles. Information collected is carefully considered and changes to recipes and menus are implemented.