Changes to the GMHS Cafeteria Getting Positive Reviews


We are very pleased to see that the early reviews on the changes that we made to the MHS cafeteria are being well received by the staff and students. As part of our plan to raise revenue to make the foods program financially solvent we have three goals:

  1. To increase the number of meals served each day
  2. To increase the number of alternative options outside of the meals program that people would like to see
  3. To better serve the customers

Our new Food Services Director Sean Riley is offering a “food stations” approach like you might see in a college where there are offerings available in different stations that vary but are also somewhat predictable. Foe example, there is always a Chef’s Specialty offering which is a hot lunch. If students are interested and want a quick alternative , they can select from the “Grab and Go” area where they can get items like pizza, burgers, or chicken sandwiches. he is featuring an “international station ” which includes various types of ethnic foods such as Mexican, Chinese, Asian and Italian offerings that will rotate.  One of the stations that is gaining popularity daily is the “Knight’s Deli”  where students can get a made-to-order sandwich on the bread of their choice which can be served cold or as a Panini made in our new Panini makers. As the weather gets cooler, the staff will be serving homemade soups and every day there is the fresh salad bar where students can make their own salad or garnish their food. They also serve additional snacks and lighter options like parfaits, bagels, soft pretzels and ice cream.

We have opened out new coffee shop the Royal Brew Cafe beginning at 6:30 AM where students can get coffee which can be flavored, regular or decaf, smoothies and parfaits, iced drinks, fresh bagels, breakfast sandwiches and fruit.  Right now the coffee shop is not open at lunch but we are considering opening it for the second half of the lunch period now that we have a dedicated staff member to work it.  If there is a demand, Mr. Riley will consider opening it from 2:15 PM to 3:00 PM for students and staff who would like a snack at the end of the day. More to come on that…

Another feature that we think is going to be well received by the groups that use our school gyms is the vending machines that are located right outside the gym areas. They will include drinks, including sports drinks for our athletes, water and some juice options and snacks that meet the nutritional guidelines.  These machines are on timers during the school day but will be available after school and evenings when there are events going on. There may still be some sports boosters groups that want to sell food but these machines will be another alternative because we are hearing from people that they are available in other schools and so we are trying as part of our revenue generating options. These vending machines are available at both the Penn Brook and the Middle High Schools.

Customer satisfaction is very important to us but I want to assure you that all of the options we are selling meet the federal nutrition guidelines. We are not sacrificing quality but we are improving the way meals are prepared and served, expanding predictable opportunities that are available most days ( including gluten-free options), increasing the variety and featuring more fresh and homemade alternatives.  Sean Riley has already met with all of the classes and has been in the cafeteria every day overseeing the changes and ensuring that they are going as plans. I expect to see him speaking regularly with students and adjusting alternatives based on these conversations.

I urge you to sign up for My School Bucks which is an easy way for you to track your child’s eating patterns and to have easy access to the status of your account balance.  As you may recall, a couple of years ago we had a significant problem with outstanding and unpaid balances . I am pleased to report that last year, this was significantly better.  Many people reported that enrolling in My School Bucks made it much easier to know if they needed to put more money on account because they received automated messages about a low balance.  Please consider looking into this because it makes everything easier for the staff, parents and the students. If you need help with this process, don’t hesitate to call the Food Services Office at 978-352-5777 extension 8.