3 Ways to Reduce End-of-Year Lunch Debt

At the end of the school year, uncollected lunch debt can put schools in a difficult situation. The balance between feeding hungry students and maintaining financial stability while also following district guidelines is crucial. Luckily, there are ways to help reduce this problem. Following these guidelines along with the help of Meals Plus can help you end your school year right.

1.  Make sure eligible students take advantage of free and reduced-price meals.

The start of the school year can strongly impact how your cafeteria finishes out the year. Communication with parents is crucial, and the sooner you can start the better! Create a summer outreach plan to encourage early application submission so kids have reimbursable meals from the first day of school. Moving this process online can also increase completed applications while making the processing easier for schools. With LunchApplication the free and reduced application process is easy and accessible for parents while integrating with the Meals Plus Free and Reduced program to accurately update eligibility.

2.  Encourage meal prepayment with alternative methods.

Another online solution for optimizing parent accessibility is offering an online payment system. With K12PaymentCenter, the process of loading money onto student accounts is simplified by allowing credit and debit card payments whenever they want. This automatically integrates with the Meals Plus POS so balance and activity are always updated.

3.  Remind parents when money is owed.

Being proactive in keeping parents informed about their student’s account can make a huge difference in decreasing outstanding balances. K12PaymentCenter not only allows parents to view account balances and what students are buying but also sends balance notifications via email and text, so they are always in the loop. Soon parents will even be able to do all of this from the convenience of their smartphone. Be on the lookout soon for K12PaymentCenter to hit the app store!

The key to reducing unpaid meal charges is being proactive, and communicating clearly. With Meals Plus, these steps can be taken in a simple, automated way making things easier for parents and cafeteria staff.  For more guidelines on overcoming the unpaid meal challenge, check out the USDA Food and Nutrition Service guide.

Tips from Our Child Nutrition Operations Consultant: Fiscal Survival 101 for Child Nutrition

In Cynthia Sevier’s white paper, “Fiscal Survival 101 for Child Nutrition: Financial Success in the Era of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” she examines the four indicators of evaluating your child nutrition program’s financial health. One of these is Meal Cost, and she highlights twelve practices to control food costs. Below are four of the practices; to read more, download your free copy of the white paper here!

School_meal_guidlines1. Use of production records show how much food was produced, served and left over or discarded. If used wisely, production records show trends of what items students are eating, and if too much or too little food is being served and/or prepared.

2. Use “offer versus serve.”

3. Cooperative purchasing if possible. Joining other school districts creates a bid with more volume. Volume buying often results in lower per item cost.

4. Batch cooking or preparing food “just in time” controls leftovers and lessens holding time resulting in a fresher, more appealing product. Work schedules help guide assistants in managing time wisely.

To read more about the four indicators of financial health, download your free copy of “Fiscal Survival 101 for Child Nutrition: Financial Success in the Era of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”

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Keep Track of Finances with Financial & Statistical Software

Meals Plus makes managing financial and statistical facets of your school cafeterias easy with Financial and Statistical management software. With up-to-date expense information, you can analyze the financial health for the district or an individual school. You can even set performance goals for individual schools!

Email us or call 1-800-541-8999 for more information!

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Fiscal Survival for Child Nutrition – Free White Paper Download

Fiscal Survival 101: Financial Success in the Era of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
From Child Nutrition Operations Consultant, Cynthia Sevier, SNS, the author of “Not All Doom and Legume: A Survival Guide to the New Meal Pattern Requirements” comes another white paper, “Fiscal Survival 101 for Child Nutrition”.

Download this free white paper to learn about several keys to financial health:

  • Meal Cost
  • Cost to RevenueFiscal Survival 101
  • Participation in your Program
  • Financial Position

Share your thoughts on the whitepaper on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter. And share the download link with your colleagues!

Check out our other informational white papers as well!Foodservice_sales_software