The Impact of COVID on Secondary School Catering.

Jun 23, 2020 editor

COVID-19 has changed everyone's view of what is important. It has renewed the importance of supporting local businesses, communities and everyday heroes. It has also reinforced the importance of trust and perhaps most importantly, it has particularly affected young people. As schools begin to fully reopen, the risks are being looked at through a magnifying glass.

Pupils have spent more time at home, creating in home experiences such as cooking and entertaining. Health consciousness is influencing what they eat, how they spend their time and where they eat. Time is hugely valued, and pupils expect convenience as well as safety in every service interaction to accommodate their lives and free up lost time. Meals have become more fluid to accommodate flexible working patterns. Pupils are digital first in the way they communicate, learn, shop, and increasingly enjoy experiences.

The role of food service in school life is now more important than ever for health and wellbeing of every individual. Our fantastic educators are now more flexible and agile and have reached into the community and wider society. The use of technology has now accelerated through necessity. We will need these positive outcomes to remain when schools reopen and the role of food service is one area this can shine through.

As schools begin to reopen, the risks are being looked at through a magnifying glass.

  • Rising hygiene, safety and sustainability expectations
  • Cost pressures in education
  • Health and safety operational constraints
  • Education technology prioritised over physical services

Discussing with your team or contractor to find long term flexibility and solutions is essential. Red Box have highlighted below some of the key areas for consideration.

  • Staggered dining times for each class in eating space
  • Dispersed food (pick up points around the school)
  • Flexible labour models to accommodate future closures & longer opening hours
  • Digital pre-ordering
  • Contactless prepackaged food
  • Larger spaces for collecting and eating
  • Centralised preparation and satellite kitchens

To discuss any of your requirements or concerns around reopening or reshaping secondary catering services, please give Red Box a call on 01423 810985 to discuss how we may be able to assist. We always offer a no obligation initial consultation.