The Ultimate Guide to ANC 2018

It’s our favorite time of year at Meals Plus! The School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference 2018 is just around the corner. From July 9-12 industry professionals from all over the country will head to the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas for four days of sharing bright ideas, learning best practices, and illuminating a bold vision for K12 school food service! Whether it’s your first time, or you’re a dedicated annual attendee, we have everything you need to know to get ready.

Getting Started

First thing’s first—the Opening Session. This year, co-anchor of CBS This Morning, Gayle King will be starting things off! She will be bringing refreshing authenticity along with her dogged persistence to her assignments. After her keynote speech, she will be signing copies of her book, Note to Self: Inspiring Words from Inspiring People. She isn’t the only star studded speaker. On Thursday Chef Jeff Henderson will be sharing his journey from the streets to the stove, along with some real-life strategies to help you achieve your dreams. After his session, he will also be signing copies of his books. Check out SNA’s website for more information on the general sessions.

Gaining Bright Ideas

Whether you’re looking to develop new skills or enhance existing knowledge, you can customize a schedule of educational sessions just for your needs! There will be a Culinary Skills Lab, sessions on promoting your program, and information on navigating the procurement puzzle. You can view all education session here as well as download a tracking tool that provides an easy way to keep up with your training hours during the conference.

Exploring the Exhibit Hall

The most exciting part of ANC for us at Meals Plus is the Exhibit Hall! This year there will be 880 booths showcasing culinary trends in food, beverage, supply, equipment, and service solutions. No matter what you’re looking for to grow your program, you can find it in the miles of aisles! While you’re there, be sure to stop to learn about how we can help turn your cafeteria into the Smartest Lunchroom. For digital menu solutions, visit School Nutrition and Fitness at book #1659. To learn more about our integrated cafeteria management solutions visit Meals Plus at booth #1065! Whether you’re a customer or not, if you are looking for new ways to improve your program, we’d love to chat with you!

Making Connections through Special Events

The fun doesn’t stop once you leave the educational sessions or the exhibit hall. There are even more events that offer a little something for everyone! If you’re a first-time attendee, you should definitely go to the First-Timers Session to guide you in the right direction before you get started. This year is all about networking, so be sure to attend the New Connections Reception on Monday. Once you’ve gained all of these new ideas and connections, celebrate at the closing event, Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil, an electrifying fusion of acrobatics and dance in honor of the King of Pop. Learn more about all of the special events offered at ANC here.

Take on ANC from your Smartphone!

ANC just went mobile! You can download SNA’s 2018 ANC mobile app to stay connected while on site. You can build your own agenda, evaluate education sessions, navigate the conference center, message other attendees and join discussion groups, and receive notifications on schedule changes and program alerts. The app can be downloaded on iTunes or Google Play.

Experiencing Las Vegas Outside of the Conference Doors

Even though our first priority at ANC is to learn and network, it’s also an exciting opportunity to experience Sin City! Check out this list for some of the Best Things to Do in Las Vegas. You may also want to check out SNA’s list of inexpensive suggestions for exploring Vegas.

We are so excited to see you in Vegas! We hope you gain valuable information to step up your lunch program. Don’t forget to stop by booth #1065 to visit Meals Plus and booth #1659 to visit School Nutrition and Fitness in the exhibit hall July 10-12. Learn more information about ANC 2018 here.

5 Things You Don’t Want to Miss at ANC ’16

It’s that time of year again – the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference! This year’s conference is in San Antonio and the Meals Plus Team has compiled their list of must-see items at the biggest annual event for child nutrition professionals.

  • Sharon Schaefer, Speaker Spotlight. This “trained chef turned proud lunch lady” will be touching on some exciting topics, including harnessing the “power of flavor,” cooking for teenagers and you won’t want to miss her cooking demos during exhibit hall hours.
  • Shannon Miller, Opening General Session Panelist. Meals Plus Account Manager Joy Miller is especially excited about this event. As a former gymnast herself, Joy is eagerly anticipating hearing Shannon detail how she transitioned her career as the most decorated gymnast in history to being a health and wellness advocate.
  • sna_anc_san_antonioPick up your limited edition ANC 2016 Graham Lapel Pin. Graham’s embracing all things Texas in this year’s Meals Plus ANC pin design. Quantities are limited, so be sure to stop by Booth 1513 to pick up your pin before they are all gone!
  • Special announcement from Meals Plus Marketing Manager, Liz Roesel, at the Meals Plus Booth. Right now, she is keeping the details top secret, so you’ll have to stop by Booth 1513 at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 to find out what’s in store!
  • Of course we’ll never forget The Alamo! This historical monument is a must-see for anyone visiting San Antonio.

We can’t wait to see you all in San Antonio, and thank you to everyone at the School Nutrition Association for planning this event, which we know will be a huge success!

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“The 5 P’s of Promoting Your School Meal Program” LIVE at the NC-SNA Conference

Nowadays, it takes more than the occasional promotion to market your school meal program. Join this Educational Mini Session at the SNA of North Carolina Annual Conference to learn how your marketing strategies can be more effective within the following areas: Product, Placement, Promotion, Price, and People. Audience: Directors, Supervisors, Managers.

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The session is hosted by Cynthia Sevier, SNS, who has over 30 years of experience in school food service. She retired from Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, a district with 122 schools, and offers consulting services.

Are you interested in Cynthia presenting at your conference or district? Contact her today for more information! 

 

Meals Plus Customer “Sells” Her Software System at the OASBO Conference

This guest post was written by Sue Whitaker, the Food Service Director of Huron City School District in Huron, OH. A long-time Meals Plus Customer, she represented Meals Plus at the Ohio Association of School Business Officials Conference this past month.  

As a seasoned food service director, I have had the privilege of attending MANY food/vendor shows, but my recent visit to one was totally different.

I was one of the faces at the booth for Meals Plus during the OASBO Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio. Of course, it’s never been hard for me to express my total satisfaction in this system, but having the opportunity to tell so many others at the same time was exciting!

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Being an actual customer for over 16 years impressed a lot of those stopping by the booth. Many were amazed by all the program offers…a “one stop shop” so to speak. I know most of those attending wouldn’t actually be the one using the school cafeteria point of sale system, but would be a decision maker for the purchase. So I told everyone, “you get what you pay for.”

Meals Plus is a company that stands behind its product. It’s always improving and has a great tech support team that’s very caring and helps us “Keep the Lunchline Moving.” Who could ask for anything more?

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School Nutrition Association’s ANC 2015 Wrap-Up

Another successful year at the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference!

Members of the Meals Plus Team were on-hand at the SNA’s Annual National Conference last week, including Child Nutrition Operations Consultant, Cynthia Sevier, SNS. She wore many hats at ANC 2015 – attending general sessions, education sessions and was at the Meals Plus Booth during the exhibit hall hours handing out our collectible Salt Lake City lapel pins.

sna anc 2015Cynthia attended Sunday’s “Building a Financially Sustainable Meal Program” Education Session, where presenters including Jeremy West, CDM, SNS, of Weld County School District 6 (CO), illustrated how extremely important it is to know where your revenue comes from. Generating income outside of the standard breakfast and lunch hours is imperative. He recommended to “tell your story” with stakeholders, who are not only your students, but parents and district administrative staff as well. Don’t assume they know about your child nutrition program. If appropriate, share your business plan with them to optimize your department’s success. (For an in-depth look at the top indicators of your child nutrition department’s financial health, download our free white paper, “Fiscal Survival 101: Financial Success in the Era of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act.“)

Menu boards were also a popular topic of conversation at ANC 2015. Obviously they are used as a dynamic menu board in the cafeteria, but they can be used for so much more. School announcements, themes such as homecoming week, farm-to-school promotions, nutritional information and advertising new menu items are all appropriate topics for your menu boards. Remember to keep them current and there is no need to overcrowd them. Simplicity is key. (Do you use video menu boards in your cafeterias? Check out the Meals Plus menu board interface!)

And of course there are two major items in effect this year for our industry: Child Nutrition Reauthorization and Professional Standards for School Nutrition Professionals. There are lots of free resources available to make these processes easier, including a Food Research and Action Center Child Nutrition Reauthorization webinar and a Training Tracking Tool from the USDA. Follow our blog and e-newsletter (subscribe to our newsletter here) for more free resources to help with reauthorization and professional standards in the coming months.

Thank you to the School Nutrition Association, the city of Salt Lake City, and everyone who helped make ANC 2015 a success! We can’t wait to see you all in San Antonio next year!

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SNIC 2015 Was a Huge Success!

SNIC_2015As always, the SNA School Nutrition Industry Conference was an enormous success. Meals Plus Account Manager Joy Miller and Child Nutrition Operations Consultant Cynthia Sevier, SNS were on-hand for the event in Phoenix, AZ and enjoyed meeting with other industry representatives and school nutrition directors. This year’s General Sessions focused on embracing change through collaborative partnerships and creative marketing. (Speaking of creative marketing – have you downloaded a copy of “The 5 P’s of Promoting Your School Meal Program”?) SNIC speakers also addressed various K-12 child nutrition issues, including sustainability and the green restaurant movement, “Farm-to-School” and “Farm-to-Fork” initiatives, and the creation of school gardens.

Thank you to the School Nutrition Association for hosting the event! We look forward to next year.

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The Meals Plus Team is Shipping Up to Boston For the SNA Annual National Conference

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There is no better time to visit Boston than July; the month known for its patriotism, summer dog days, and the SNA Annual National Conference. The Meals Plus Team is traveling to Boston to attend this year’s conference, which takes place July 13-16.

Be sure to visit the team at booth 1369 to learn about our cafeteria management system and our new PowerSchool Connector! They will be glad to answer any questions and offer a free demo of the system. Be sure to check out Meals Plus’ Facebook and Twitter page for Tweets, updates, and pictures of the conference!

The Meals Plus Team can’t wait to exhibit all of the new improvements and features at the SNA Annual National Conference this year! We’ll see you there!Cafeteria_nutrition_systems

Meals Plus is Headed to South Beach for the School Nutrition Industry Conference

This year, Meals Plus Senior Account Manager Sidney Wood will be attending the 2014 School Nutrition Industry Conference in Miami, Florida! The 2014 conference (previously named the Child Nutrition Industry Conference) will focus on three key topics: customers, products, and marketing.

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Sidney is very excited to meet with Child Nutrition Directors from across the country to learn about what obstacles you face each year and how we as industry representatives can help you achieve success in the coming year. Follow her experience at SNIC 2014 on Twitter!

See the complete SNIC schedule here and we look forward to seeing you there!School_lunch_service_software

School Nutrition Association Awards Program

SNA AwardDo you work with an employee known for constantly going above and beyond the call of duty?  If so, they may be eligible for an School Nutrition Association award!  No exceptionally hard work should go unheralded, and the SNA wants to award those who operate with a standard of excellence every day on the job.  Here is a brief overview of some of the awards available, and when applications must be sent in by for the year of 2013-14.  From those serving food in the cafeteria day in and day out, to the state presidents, there is an award for every level of employment within the system!  A more detailed description of each available award can be viewed here.

Don’t let your fellow employees hard work go unnoticed! Submit an application today if you witness an employee who improves the quality of their environment, and give them the potential honor of being presented a trophy by SNA President, Sandra Ford.

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Meals Plus Will Attend the ANC

It’s that time of year again! Meal Plus will be attending the SNA Annual National Conference in Kansas City this July.

A lot of exciting news has occurred since last year’s conference. For a second consecutive year, Meals Plus was voted as one of District Administration Magazine’s Top 100 Products in 2012. The company also released its first Point of Sale enhancement request survey in order to evaluate what customers wanted most from our services.

Finally, Meals Plus is excited to present the recently enhanced Lunchprepay.com online payment system for parents at this year’s Annual Conference. Updates to the website include increase payment capabilities for school districts and parents, 24/7 secure access for parents to view all of their children’s meal history, and management tools to set low balance notifications when an account goes below an amount predetermined by parents. Automatic text messages and e-mail alerts are also now available for participating districts.

Our team will be at booth number 532, so be sure to stop by if you are attending the conference! Also, check us out on Facebook to see our collection of our conference photos.

Meals Plus is looking forward to visiting Kansas City this summer to showcase all of our company’s new and improved features for the SNA community!

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