When Toyota donated a vacant 183,000 square foot facility to help create Ignite Institute, a STEAM-based education center, local officials were tasked with converting the one-time engineering laboratory into an innovative and engaging high school.
Included in that project was one of the things every school needs — a cafeteria. But not just any cafeteria.
“They wanted it to have the appeal of a college cafeteria,” said Bryan Sauer of Joby Smith & Associates, foodservice consultants who worked with Boone County Schools in Kentucky on the project.
“They were looking for a warm, decorative feel and a restaurant-style experience — something more akin to a commons area in a college than a traditional high school cafeteria,” he said.
And they wanted the menu to reflect that kind of experience, with high-quality foods, regularly changing offerings and lots of options for students to choose from.
To meet these needs, Sauer said the school attended to every detail — introducing a beverage table with self-serve cappuccinos and a variety of merchandising coolers and grab-and-go units to broaden appeal. They even selected a tray style and silverware cart that offered a higher-scale feel than traditional high school choices.
For their serving lines, the Ignite Institute selected QuickSwitch wells from LTI in various orientations and sizes to support needs like soups and garnishes, sandwich prep, taco stations, hot entrees and cold sides.
“They wanted to have a very diverse menu here, and the QuickSwitch gives them the ability to accommodate that diversity,” Sauer said.
LTI’s patented QuickSwitch allows hot and cold foods to be served side-by-side and for wells to switch between hot, cold and frozen in an hour or less. This kind of flexibility means menu options are no longer hemmed in by traditional hot or cold wells.
Sauer said initial feedback from the school, which opened for the 2019-20 school year, was overwhelmingly positive.
“We’ve been working with LTI for the past 20 years, and we consider them the best in the business when it comes to serving counters,” he said.