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It’s that time of year again – the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference! This year’s event will be in Kansas City and we couldn’t be more excited to show you all of the latest enhancements we’ve made to our school lunchroom software. Our online payment system for parents has been completely re-vamped to better accommodate for school related fees and our Meals Plus Development Team has been working closely with Meals Plus Customers to see what’s important to THEM. The open lines of communication help the Development Team determine what it takes to help you effectively manage your district’s cafeterias.

So stop by and see me and the rest of the Meals Plus Team at ANC 2013 – we’ll be at Booth 532!

Earlier this year, I was at a conference in Virginia discussing how to increase participation with local Child Nutrition Directors. Across the board it seems that one of the biggest concerns for everyone’s department is increasing participation, especially with the new meal pattern requirements. Our Meals Plus Child Nutrition Operations Consultant, Cynthia Sevier, SNS, has discussed many ways to approach the issue, such as putting fruit closer to the end of a lunch line or training the students to understand what makes a “lunch.” And now I’m thinking… software – how can Meals Plus cafeteria software help raise participation? Do I have your attention now? Call me and let’s talk about it!

I am very excited to share that Meals Plus was chosen as one of District Administration’s Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products of 2011! This year’s competition was special for many reasons. First, there were a record number of nominations. And the winners weren’t just chosen by the number of nominations – a group of District Administration editors (which include school superintendents and district directors) looked at the comments nominators made as well. They even chose to quote one of my customers in Ohio, Cindy Jones of New Philadelphia City Schools in their article: “Meals Plus’ electronic point of sale has eliminated confusion, saved time and improved sales. Meals Plus is very easy to navigate, which has been a blessing, since most of my staff was not comfortable using computers and some don’t even have one at home.”

Thank you so much to Cindy and all of you that voted for the Meals Plus cafeteria software system! Check out the complete list of the District Administration’s Top 100 Products of 2011 here!

Meals Plus is not going to set up your cafeterias with our school lunchroom software and leave you hanging. We back up our software with the best customer support in the business. Don’t believe me? See for yourself the outstanding results our tech support staff received this past month! Want to know what other districts in your state think of their Meals Plus experience? Contact me directly via email or call me at 1-800-541-8999 and I’ll send you a list of our customers in your state – contact information and all. That’s how confident I am that you will also rate Meals Plus a 10 out of 10, 5 Stars and a 100%!

k12 school lunchroom software

More and more Child Nutrition Directors are noticing the need to have their district’s student information system (like Infinite Campus, DASL, Focus, Powerschool and Star) to be able to easily communicate with their cafeteria technology system.  Newly registered students or transfer students need to be in your system – and in a timely matter! If not, schools are stuck with writing students’ information down and importing or missing out completely with capturing that reimbursement. (I actually just spoke to this fact in my last post on Sullivan County Schools in Tennessee.) With our cafeteria POS software, we recommend using the generic number, that way you can get the reimbursement.  But most importantly, we recommend a regular import of your district’s student information system.

k12 school cafeteria management softwareAnd it’s actually quite simple to do that. From the System Management component of Meals Plus simply create an import, tell the system where the file is that you want imported, schedule the time and what days you want it to import, and you’re DONE! It’s that simple. Or if your district is using SIF for information exchange, Meals Plus has a certified SIF agent for next to real-time student data updates.

It will help your school district “keep the lunchline moving” and I love it!

Sullivan County Schools Food ServicesEarlier this year, I helped launch Meals Plus Cafeteria Point of Sale, Free & Reduced Student Management and Accountability systems at Sullivan County Schools in Blountville, TN. I quickly saw that Sullivan County was being held back by their current software system. Without a centralized database, they had to back up more than 20 separate databases daily. Importing from their SIS program was difficult to use and unreliable, so they would resort to importing new student information by hand. When there was an issue, their software support technicians were slow to respond. Tasks were taking them 4-5 days to complete that I knew could be done in minutes with Meals Plus’ cafeteria management system. The Meals Plus training and support staff and I were able to help them streamline their processes, saving them time and resources.

Meals Plus has published their latest case study on Sullivan County highlighting the “Before and After” effect of Meals Plus. I am excited to have been a part of the process and like Lisa Holt, Food Service Director of Sullivan County Schools, look forward to working together in the future!

Want to hear more? Check out how Meals Plus improved operations at Charleston County School District’s 86 sites – in less than 60 days!

Last week at the FSNA Conference in St. Augustine, FL, I met some local Food Service Directors who shared concerns about the upcoming restrictions on sodium for school lunch programs.  One FSD shared that she’s behind the new regulation but would like the trend to be national.  She believes if everyone participates the nation will be more healthy and used to a lower sodium diet.

Another FSD said her staff isn’t proficient with “scratch” cooking and this will make it harder on her staff and take more time in the kitchen for preparation.  But adhering to new laws and regulations shouldn’t be difficult – your school lunchroom software should be equipped to easily manage your menu items and their ingredients. Ask me for more information on Meals Plus’ Menu Planning and Nutrient Analysis – and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!

Truly,

Sid

Menu Planning for Schools