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We are changing the school canteen in the school restaurant


Changing the school canteen in the school restaurant

We have it on a plate and we don't care

How to create a school catering system that meets the ideas of all involved?

How to get nutritious food on children's plates every day?

What criteria must be met in order for a school board to be described as good quality?

And how to keep such a system in practice?

Answers and clear solutions are offered by a joint project of the State Institute of Public Health, the Czech Gastronomic Institute and Culinary Arts,
in which 16 Czech schools are now involved.


We build our project on 6 basic pillars:



The way to success, as everywhere, is people - adequately educated to perform their professional position, motivated, confident and responsible. Their satisfaction is also absolutely important. The employment of a chef in a school canteen does not currently have the necessary prestige, despite the fact that the best food should be prepared for children.


The school catering system has long struggled with a shortage of staff. There is also no qualified staff in the field of gastronomy. There is also a lack of sufficient funds that can be spent every year on the systematic professional growth of each team.


The current further education of non-pedagogical staff, to which school canteen staff belong, has no rules and the quality of the courses provided in this way is diametrically different.


As part of the We have it on the plate project, we will create a logical structure of professional positions within school meals. The roles, duties and specific responsibilities of each member of the school restaurant team will emerge from them. Specific training will be required for each of these positions.  This will be possible in the form of further education of non-teaching staff. The quality of such training (including practical skills) will also be described.


Equipment and premises

Approximately 2 million children use school meals daily. Sufficient and efficient plant equipment is needed to dispense such large numbers of portions. The brewery must respect the ergonomics and capacity of the dining room as well as the logical layout of the work zones. It should have equipment that simplifies and streamlines the organization of work and allows food to be safely processed and stored for further use.  


The customer will appreciate the attractive environment of the dining room all the more, if he can contribute to its appearance and functioning.
School canteens are gradually being reconstructed or retrofitted with technology. It happens that in the new school canteen, the staff does not work as well as they imagined. This disappointment needs to be avoided. As part of the We have it on the plate project, we will design an independent standard that describes the necessary equipment, its quality so that the food prepared is as fresh and of the highest quality as possible and so that the way to produce such food is operationally efficient.


The standards should describe recommendations for different brewing capacities. These standards can also serve the founders well for better procurement.



Effective organization of the operation is very important and will ultimately simplify the work of all and allow the safe production of nutritionally valuable and sensory attractive food.  


At present, there are a number of myths that may and may not be circulating among the staff of school canteens. Regardless, food law is the same for everyone. Procedures are also often passed down from generation to generation that, with proper knowledge of other options, could be handled much better.  


We don't have to go far for comparison, currently there are school canteens that have changed the system of work organization (thus approaching to some extent commercial operations) and these changes have had a huge impact on the quality of food provided.
Quality standards in this area name the principles and provide specific guidance and examples of good practice.


Food and gastronomy

The purpose of school meals should be a satisfied, eaten child - customer. For this to happen, the whole system must work properly, and the quality of the ingredients, the quality of the recipes and the quality of the culinary preparation of the food must play a huge role.


Criticism of the school catering system is in most cases directed to this area. Because the food on the plate is the most visible result of the whole effort. And just what the dish looks, smells, tastes - it decides whether the child eats it.  


In today's school meals, the quality from raw materials through nutritional value to the variety of the menu is not fully described. The culinary side is not much addressed, but it can have a major either positive or negative effect.  


Together with experts (SZÚ, ČANT, 3.LF UK, LF MU, UJEP) we create within the project We have it on the plate the so-called food quality standards, which describe the raw materials, the required nutritional value, the diversity of the menu. Thanks to these standards, specific tools and solutions can then be created for school canteens, which will really guarantee nutritionally high-quality and attractive food for children.


Customer care

"The food is for me. I know the work of chefs in school cafeterias and I respect it. I also appreciate food and try to waste as little as possible. I can thank, praise, ask. The dining room is a place for me where I meet friends and I want to enjoy good food. I appreciate when the food on the plate looks good, when I recognize what it is prepared from and when it is not oversalted. An empty plate is proof that I like it. I don't always have a taste for everything, but at least I taste it. I want energy for afternoon activities, trainings and learning. "


In order for this to really apply, it is necessary to address school meals as a complex whose integral part is transparent communication between the customer and the school canteen, repeated evaluation of satisfaction based on feedback.  


And school meals need to be part of the whole educational process. The child will gain knowledge of the basics of proper nutrition. They will learn responsibility for their health, the work of others and nature. In the school canteen, he verifies his knowledge in practice.



As part of school meals, considerable funds are spent on the purchase of raw materials, goods, equipment or services. 
Therefore, there must be an effective correlation between capital and operating expenditures (CAPEX / OPEX), which can save public finances that flow into the system in the long run.

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