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Cooking and providing lunch


Rea
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We currently make an extra charge to take the children round to the local primary school for lunch. Its costing us money! So do any of you cook in your premises, church hall, shared kitchen, but sole users at the time. Staff did food hygiene last year andvdaid too complicated to do our own hot meals. I was thinking pizza, chips, beans, fish fingers etc. Cook, serve no waiting around asnd keeping to a temp.

Possible? Or not?

Meeting Monday looking at all finances and where we can make cuts on top of cuts so possibly grasping at straws!

Edited by Rea
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Your best bet is to get advice from your local council. you might not keep food hanging around once cooked, but where and how are you going to store it prior to that? You'll need to record fridge/freezer temperatures twice a day, record where every item you serve has come from and temperatures of frozen foods when they are delivered to you. There's lots of paperwork involved..................and then there's allergies, cross contamination, keeping a sample of the food in the freezer, portion control, rotating stocks.....................parents complaining that their child doesn't like .......and that's just for starters :)

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Could you get the cooked meals delivered in hot boxes from the school? Lots of the schools around us do not have kitchens so have their lunches delivered from larger schools in towns. You will still need to ensure food is served at apprpiate temperature and adhere to other food hygiene rules. We have done some hot lunches and found our local Environmental Health very helpful.

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I was thinking pizza, chips, beans, fish fingers etc. Cook, serve no waiting around asnd keeping to a temp.

You need to be serving good quality and nutritious food that adheres to certain levels of nutrition. You would need storage and prep areas for fresh foods and prepping vegetables. plus extra fridge spaces etc.Also you may need to offer meat free options every day depending on your cohorts.

As an alternative what about providing healthy lunch boxes made by you? Or renegotiate the terms of your agreement with the school? or charge your parents more?

I am a qualified and experienced caterer and I wouldn't go anywhere near lunch supply!!!

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Why is it costing you money, do you not charge parents the full costs involved in having the hot lunch? That would be the way to go, keep the lunches and charge the full rate involved. Either that or back to packed lunches sent in by parents. Maybe ask which they would prefer ?

 

I would not want to do hot lunches in a shared environment.. Plus the foods you suggest would not really be suitable, you have to ensure it is good quality, nutritious and healthy not classed as 'junk' food for every day but only occasionally.

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You've listed all the problems we thought we'd face but I was hoping for something! I dont even know what.

 

We charge £4 if they bring a packed lunch and £6.50 if they have school meal. School charge us £2.05.

 

Staff and committee tended to think anymore than that would be excessive and I agree but its an area we might have to look at. Although with the few children we've got, it probably wont make a great deal of difference. One satff member and myself have even said we'd volunteer some hours,, but even then, its pennies isnt it?

 

Oh well.

 

Thanks, from a very down in the dumps chair. :(

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We collect our hot lunch from the local primary school in insulated boxes just as described above. We then temp probe and serve. We've done it for 12 years and it works well for us. We pay the school the same as they charge their children - £2.30 and charge parents £2.40 to cover the cost of collection, serving and washing up (I employ someone to do this). Good luck!

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We have our cooked meals delivered by a local company who supply several other nurseries and a couple of schools. Our only outlay was to buy a bain marie and a digital thermometer. The meals are a main and pudding, all nutritionally checked and if we have an allergies that is also provided for. Meals cost us £1.95 to buy and I charge parents £2. I would certainly recommend this if you have a local company who can do it.

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  • 2 years later...
On 2/9/2017 at 15:16, Stargrower said:

We collect our hot lunch from the local primary school in insulated boxes just as described above. We then temp probe and serve. We've done it for 12 years and it works well for us. We pay the school the same as they charge their children - £2.30 and charge parents £2.40 to cover the cost of collection, serving and washing up (I employ someone to do this). Good luck!

We do exactly the same at one of our settings and it works for us. The lunches are not the greatest - not what I would choose but realistically, most of the children will be eating them for the next 7 years when they move to the school. It costs us as we include all meals in our fees, but I think it would cost more if we had to employ a cook and buy all the food. 

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Thanks hopeytg, that's really useful - up until now I've only been looking at specialist nursery caterers but you're right, I'm sure lots of others could support.  Do you just arrange the breakfast/snacks/light tea yourself then?  This at least wouldn't need a qualified cook - I'm just trying to work out a daily budget per child with in-house vs out.  I can see lots of pros for getting the hot meal delivered :)

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Well, we charge 50p for breakfast (I have considered dropping this charge in the past and offering breakfast free, but we need every penny we can get now, so we still charge!).  We pay the school £2.30 per child and charge parents £2.40, and we charge £1.00 for tea.  Teas vary, some we definitely make a profit on and some come closer to breaking even.  So beans on toast is a cheap meal and fish fingers or sausages etc is more expensive.  We are given a big dish of salad with the school lunches and we save this for tea.  

Children who pay a full day rate have their meals included in the price, children on an hourly rate pay meals on top.  We charge parents whichever option works out more cost effective for them.  When full day children become funded (either 15 or 30 hours) we charge for meals as parents are no longer paying for a full day because they have funding deducted.

I hope all that makes sense!

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Perfect, thank you that's really useful - so essentially a 'budget' of £3.80 for the day excluding snacks.   We will also include meals in our fees and for those who become funded we're planning to charge the difference between the funding and the full rate back as we also give away a lot of curriculum materials, books and additional programmes as well as the meals. Thanks again for your help :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi we use a company called Zebedees. They charge something like £2.50 per meal but you have to order a minimum of 15. We charge £3.00 as we don’t always have 15 children. We lose a bit of  money on it but it works out overall because we charge for the lunch period at usual hourly rate or use funding for all children so packed lunches help cover overall cost. Breakfast is just toast, cereal fruit etc and snacks similar rice cakes, breadsticks and fruit. We don’t charge for these. 

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