Canteens making money whilst selling healthy food kids love! Yes it can be done. The Root Cause is proud to showcase Healthy Canteens that are doing this.
This week I take great pleasure in introducing you to the amazing Kylie Bendetti, Canteen Manager from Casuarina Street Primary School in Katherine, NT. We had the pleasure of meeting Kylie on our Australian Tour when the school hosted our Mad Food Science Program. Kylie has been transitioning the canteen to healthier options over the past year, and here’s a quick wrap up:
The kids are loving it, the parents are loving it, and the canteen is making more money than before, so the Principal is loving it.
A Video By Canteen Manager, Kylie
Hear a short video message from Kylie about her canteen, and how she went about transitioning the canteen over to healthy options.
Q: How long has your canteen been offering healthy food choices for the children?
I have been canteen manager for a year here. The canteen previously was kind of healthy but less homemade options.
Q: What was the catalyst for your changing to a healthy menu?
I believe that kids should experience all flavours, and try new foods. I love to cook and use fresh ingredients.
Q: How did you go about transitioning to the healthier menu?
I deleted one item a term.. So 1st to go was party pies, then dino nuggets, then zings. I introduced a full set of specials to be served everyday including Salad and wrap specials.
Q: Can you share with us your current menu
Q: What are your top 3 most popular items?
- Homemade pizza scrolls
- Toasties and pizzas
- Pretty much everything sells
Q: How do you students and parents view the school canteen. Do they see it as a treat for the children or is it more an every day thing?
They see it as a treat mostly, but some order every day
Q: What has been the students response?
Fantastic, I have had many kids tell me they love the canteen and the options I can offer.
Q: What was the parents response?
Also fantastic, parents have even asked me what I will be getting rid of next. Some have asked for specific things to go as well.
Q: How have teachers responded to the change?
Excellent, they are sometimes my biggest customers!
Q: What does the School Principal have to say?
The School Principal loves that I am making a profit, and evidently, I am not allowed to leave!
Q: How many orders do you receive a day? Is this more or less than the old menu?
- Wednesday I do anywhere between 30 – 40
- Thursday I do anywhere between 40 – 60
- Friday a minimum 120
Q: How is the canteen run? Eg. P&C, volunteers, tender etc
1 paid worker (myself) and I get 2 parents in to help on our busiest day Friday
Q: How many people do you have working in the canteen?
Just me mostly
Q: Who manages / oversees the canteen? Eg. P&C, school, small business owned and managed etc? How many people are employed in the canteen?
I technically work for the P&C however, I answer to the school business manager and run everything by her.
Q: Do your orders come in manually or are you using software to help manage orders? If so, what software are you using?
Orders can be placed manually or online. We use quickcliq.com.au. Both ways work fine.
Q: What government policy does your canteen work to?
Q: How do you reduce the impact on the environment for things like plastic cups, ice blocks, salad containers etc? Where do you source them from?
It is partly recycled partly not… this is next on my hitlist. Being remote, it is very difficult to access quality packaging at reasonable prices sadly.
Q: Does serving healthier options cost you more in money?
I don’t think it does no. My prices reflect the cost it takes anyways.
Q: Does serving healthier options take longer for you to prepare?
A little bit longer, but if I manage my time I get through it easily enough. This year we have an extra 70 kids, so it feels a lot busier which is good..
Q: Is your canteen making more or less money than when using the old menu?
We made more money last year than the previous years.
Q: Do you have any tips to help other canteens transition to healthier menus?
- Do tasting days
- Trial and error
- If taking something away replace it with something similar but home made.
- One step at a time.
- Talk about it with the kids and the whys and hows.
Q: Do you have a favourite healthy recipe which the kids love that you can share with other canteens wishing to offer healthier options? If so, can you please share the ingredients, method and a picture too?
I would love to share my Homemade Chicken Bites recipe. To get a copy of the recipe, fill in your name and email address here and it will be emailed straight to you:
The kids also love my Pizza Scrolls, made with Puff Pastry, Pasta Sauce, Shredded Ham and Mozzarella. I cut one roll into 8 pieces and sell each one for $1.00 each.