Champion Cooks Up a New Cafeteria Program


Kierston Robicheaux

The cafeteria ordering line, which has undergone changes along with the rest of Champion’s nutrition program. One example of such changes are the menus displayed on televisions, one of which is visible in the background.

Boerne ISD hired a new catering company over the summer to make drastic changes to Boerne’s nutrition program. The company, Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), plans to pivot from the currently-used National School Lunch Program and completely redesign the Boerne ISD cafeteria system.
“SFE is the first company to work with the District,” said Tish Grill, Boerne ISD’s Chief Financial Officer. “Previously we hired a Food Service Director and were in a self-operated program. Last school year, the District developed a Food Service committee to review the Food Service program for needed improvements.”
SFE is adjusting the plan from the limited NALP to their own menus and nutrition programs.
“When you are on the NSLP, you are very restricted on what you can do. Once off program, we would be free of those restrictions and be able to fully customize menu, service, and products to best suit the high school population tastes,” said Richard Mallard, Senior Area General Manager of Food Service for BISD. “We want to ensure that we are always on trend and keep it fresh and inviting at all times.”
The new company and Boerne ISD plan to work together to unenroll from the National School Lunch Program and make SFE’s services more available to students.
“It is a complete paradigm shift from the standard way students think of ‘school food,’” said Mallard. “It would be a top to bottom redesign of the program involving technology, new types of Foodservice, and additional ways to deliver it daily to more students.”
Students will slowly see SFE’s changes integrated into their school cafeterias.
“Moving into the next couple years, the district has asked that we develop a plan to go off the National School Lunch Program,” said Mallard. “This would free the cafe up to offer significantly more Restaurant style options and larger portion sizes at a reasonable price. There is a lot more cool aspects to this, but we are currently working with students and teachers at both high school campuses to allow them to help us build the best program for BISD.”
The new program includes more options as well as in-house cooking.
“We went from three daily lunch entrees to eight or more choices daily. We focus on from scratch cooking and as much as 80% of what the cafés serve is scratch cooking,” said Mallard.
The changes SFE plans to make will include a café/coffee shop, which will offer pastries, smoothies and coffee that can be ordered online and picked up between classes. SFE also plans to add events to the cafeteria, as well as made-to-order breakfast and lunch items such as sandwiches, burgers and omelets.
“Personally, [I’m most excited about] the coffee, because I have a caffeine addiction just as half our school,” said sophomore Julia Logan-Wheeler. “More people would be willing to eat school food if it’s healthier or better for them or stuff that they prefer.”
Administrators expect a positive response to the new changes.
“Positive impact is what we expect from the contract with SFE,” said Grill. “They were brought into our district to improve our food program to make sure all students have more nutritional options for meals served during the day. We are excited about their positive impact we have experienced in the short time they have been in our district.”