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5 Reasons Your Cafeteria Setup Needs a Makeover

April 23, 2024

Stepping into your school’s cafeteria, it’s hard to ignore the signs change is overdue. From the worn-out décor to the outdated serving lines, it’s evident improvements are needed. However, within these challenges lies an exciting opportunity for transformation.

Imagine the possibilities. Whether it’s a simple high school cafeteria design refresh with a dash of redecorating or a full-scale renovation, the potential for improvement is unlimited. Implementing innovative solutions such as optimizing cafeteria line design for smoother service or incorporating cutting-edge technologies like LTI’s QuickSwitch to diversify menu offerings and ensure perfect food temperatures can make a huge difference. And let’s not overlook the convenience of grab ‘n go carts or the efficiency of digital menu boards and mobile ordering apps.

You can breathe new life into your school’s foodservice operation by tackling the following five reasons head-on and embracing strategic solutions.

#1: Outdated design and infrastructure

Look around — is the décor stuck in the past? Are the tables and chairs showing signs of wear and tear from years of use? Is the overhead lighting from the 90s? An outdated design and infrastructure can create a dull and uninspiring environment that fails to engage students.

The remedy

Consider implementing a redesign that incorporates modern aesthetics, vibrant colors, bright lights and comfortable seating arrangements. By creating an inviting and visually appealing environment, students will be more inclined to enjoy their meals and socialize in the cafeteria.

To ensure a cohesive and impactful redesign, leverage the expertise of LTI’s VisionDesign services. With an innovative approach and a keen eye for detail, we can help transform your cafeteria into a space that’s talked about. Our team will work closely with you to understand your vision and objectives, providing tailored solutions that elevate the dining experience for students and staff alike.

#2: Poor layout and traffic flow

Does your cafeteria suffer from congestion during peak hours? Is the layout confusing or inefficient? A poorly designed layout and traffic flow can lead to long lines, overcrowding and frustration. No student should have to forgo lunch due to a lack of time.

The remedy

Evaluate the layout of the serving area and consider redesigning it to optimize flow. Introducing self-service kiosks, grab-and-go stations and mobile ordering options can also help expedite the ordering process and reduce wait times, allowing students to enjoy their meals without unnecessary delays.

#3: Limited menu options and food variety

Are you limited to a small selection of menu items? Are your students growing tired of the same old offerings? A lack of variety and choice can lead to dissatisfaction and decreased participation in school meal programs.

The remedy

To address this issue, work with cafeteria staff to develop a diverse and appealing menu that caters to different dietary preferences and tastes. Incorporating fresh ingredients, offering seasonal specials and even incorporating a variety of fun options like taco bars or a make-your-own sandwich station can encourage students to choose school meals over alternatives. Here, products like hot and cold food wells and custom counters come with a broad range of options which can be incorporated in a variety of ways to fit each unique need.

#4: Inadequate seating and comfort

If you notice students squeezing into overcrowded tables or sitting on uncomfortable chairs, it’s probably time for a change. A shortage of seating and lack of comfort can discourage students from spending time in the cafeteria, leading to rushed meals or skipped lunches.

The remedy

Consider offering on-trend seating. Options can range from traditional, durable seating to high-tops, booths and restaurant-style seating complete with charging stations. Look for products that will stand the test of time with the highest quality materials.

#5: Labor shortages

Labor shortages have been a challenge in recent years, especially in schools where the delivery of nutritious student meals remains a top priority regardless of staffing constraints.

The remedy

One effective strategy is to integrate grab-and-go kiosks into your cafeteria infrastructure. These kiosks can be pre-assembled and operated without the need for additional staff on the serving line, ensuring seamless meal distribution even during periods of reduced staffing.

As you contemplate a cafeteria transformation, keep in mind the impact even the smallest changes can have on the students you serve. With dedication, creativity and a commitment to excellence, your cafeteria can become a place where students not only nourish their bodies but also nourish their minds and spirits, creating lasting memories and meaningful connections along the way.

For help in implementing these solutions, reach out to LTI experts.