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20 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MARCH 2017 consultant's viewpoint line, and promotes healthy eating through the placement of two fresh food bars in the center of the servery. Every student has to pass the healthy food offerings on their way to check out of the space. A commons area complete with banquettes, round tables, and high-seat community tables compliments this atmosphere to provide a true dining experience. This makeover has resulted in a 20 percent increase in meal sales and a 10 percent increase in the purchase of a la carte items. These schools represent just two examples of the exciting and necessary transformation taking place in school foodservice. You can find similar success stories throughout our country. The commonalities in all these transformations lie in lessons learned. Transformation Lessons Learned Some proven areas that helped evolve school foodservice programs: • Presentation matters. It is not just the order in which we place the food that provokes healthy food selections, but also how we present the food. Our children eat with their eyes, just like we do. Does the servery provide an environ- ment that encourages healthy eating? • Menu matters, too. I recognize that as foodservice equip- ment and design professionals, we do not have as much control in this area. We can, however, act as a resource and encourage our clients. No market segment is more gener- ous with their ideas and sharing their success stories (and failures) than the school nutrition community. We can point them to other operators, we can provide tours of other facilities, and we can provide input through our own experiences in the foodservice equipment arena. Do not be fooled by the saying, "Oh, the kids won't eat that." Yes they will. Check out Joe Urban, Director of Nutrition Services at Greenville County Schools in South Carolina, as he shares his experiences on social media (@schoolfoodrocks on Twitter and Instagram). It is amazing what children will try and eat in the right environment. • Use the research available. The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement (www. smarterlunchrooms.org) has done a wonderful job of researching the school foodservice environment. They offer proven, documented ideas and sugges- tions on how to entice our children to eat healthier. Placing fruits and vegetables first in the serving lines, placing white milk in front of chocolate milk, and labeling food items with fun names (X-Ray Vision Carrots, anyone?) are all ways to increase student participation in the school food program. Just as in restaurant design, the key to success in school foodservice all comes down to the details. As consumers, we don't accept the status quo in our dining experiences and we should not expect our children to accept the status quo in their school dining experience either. By developing dining environ- ments that promote a sense of community and send a message of quality and freshness via top-notch presentation methods, school foodservice can play a leading role in teaching our children to adopt healthy eating as part of their lifestyle. Below: The high school's open-concept style foodservice approach mimics open-kitchen formats popular in restaurants today. Right: Pendleton Heights' foodservice operation promotes colorful, healthy menu items that students can quickly take and join their classmates during meal periods. Proper use of foodservice equipment helps show- case menu items and promote food safety.