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.

What Happens When Your Child Nutrition Server Crashes?

Hello – It’s Matt Kennedy from Meals Plus! Last week, we assisted a district whose server crashed – what a nightmare. They tried to restore a recent backup, but the backups were corrupt! The most recent usable backup they had was from October of last year – they lost months of business. It got me thinking about how that would affect other districts…

child nutrition softwareHow would you cope if your server crashed? If you had Meals Plus child nutrition software running your CN program, we could also take the worry out of server backups and maintenance! You could eliminate the cost and hassle of purchasing and maintaining a server with our database hosting.

Did You Know?

  • Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States
  • 25 million Windows computers crash each day

With the Meals Plus Hosting Service you get 99.99% guaranteed uptime and fast disaster recovery service ensuring that your data is available and safe.

Let me know if you‘d like to talk further about our Hosting Service for all these Meals Plus components: Point of Sale, Free & Reduced, online applications, online meal payments and school fees, Inventory Management, Menu Planning.  Our suite of products, backed by award-winning customer support, is helping large and small child nutrition programs in 40 states.

Email me or contact me here to find out more.  I’m here to serve you!

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[WATCH] Staying Organized with the My Meals Plus Dashboard

The My Meals Plus Dashboard helps you stay on top of your to-do list by allowing you to bookmark the features you use most in the Meals Plus school cafeteria software system. See how you can make the most out of your software system with My Meals Plus!

For more information on the Meals Plus software system, contact us today online or at 1-800-541-8999!

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Tips from Our Child Nutrition Operations Consultant: Promoting Your School Meal Program

In our white paper, “The 5 P’s of Promoting Your School Meal Program,” Child Nutrition Operations Consultant Cynthia Sevier, SNS, examines how you can promote your child nutrition program, and shares real-life experiences in school districts across the country. “The 5 P’s” are Product, Placement, Promotion, Price and People. Here is an excerpt of the white paper illustrating how you can implement “Promotion” in your program:

Social media is a vast, untapped resource for school nutrition programs and is a direct participation_in_the_cafeteriaconnection between our students and parents. It takes time and commitment but can be a vehicle to reach students and parents with information about the program. Check with your school board policies concerning the use of social media before beginning.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs are being used by students and parents, and can be very valuable in telling your story. Perception doesn’t always equal reality and this becomes apparent with some of the postings. By sharing your story, you are communicating who you are and what you are capable of doing. You are earning your customers attention rather than “buying” it. Why not take the opportunity to answer questions and educate our stakeholders?

Information that is posted must be current and relevant to create and keep interest.

To read more about marketing your school meal program, download your free copy of “The 5 P’s of Promoting Your School Meal Program.

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Welcome to Meals Plus!

We’d like to welcome the following school districts to the Meals Plus Family! To hear what Meals Plus Customers across the country think of our school cafeteria software system, check out our case studies and testimonials.

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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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Centralize Your District’s Data with Accountability Software

Meals Plus’ child nutrition accountability software centralizes all of your district’s data with ease. It provides real-time access to district-wide and school-by-school reports.  The software also allows you to update cafeteria point of sale pricing from the Central Office.

Request a free cafeteria software trial or call 1-800-541-8999 for more information!Centralized_school_data

Meals Plus Customer Support Scores Nearly Perfect in 2013

2013 was another successful year for Meals Plus customers across the country and for the Meals Plus Technical Support Team! And in addition to our bi-annual customer satisfaction surveys, we randomly survey Meals Plus customers after they call into our help desk. Below are that survey’s results for 2013 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being ‘very satisfied’.

How would you rate:

  • The courtesy of the analyst? 5
  • The technical skills/knowledge of the analyst? 4.9
  • The timeliness of the service provided? 4.9
  • The quality of the service provided? 4.9
  • The overall service experience? 4.9

In addition to these near perfect numbers, Meals Plus’ average time to answer calls last year was 92 seconds, and first call resolution was just above 93%. Meals Plus customers appreciate that if they ever have an issue, they are just a phone call away from speaking with an actual person that is committed to solving your issue quickly.  And if you have a pleasant call with one of these five star courtesy rated staff members, you can put the face to the name right here!Local_management_for_k-12_cafeterias

Meals Plus Customer Spotlight: Bette Warner of Canal Winchester Local Schools (OH)

Bette Warner is the Meals Application Coordinator for Canal Winchester Local Schools in Ohio.  Meals Plus has been their cafeteria management software provider for over a year now.  Bette has noticed improvements across the board since the implementation of the Meals Plus system. Let’s hear what she has to say!

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The Dish: How long have you been using Meals Plus?
Bette: We started partnering with Meals Plus in August 2012.

TD: What duties and responsibilities does your position entail?
Bette:  My title is “Meals Application Coordinator.” I deal with the applicants, answering their questions and processing the application forms, including direct certification, verification and daily notification of results to the parent/guardians. I maintain application and student participation records.

TD: What aspects of your position do you enjoy the most?
Bette: I enjoy the direct contact with the parent/guardians, including helping to explain and complete application forms and sharing information about the program.

TD: What do you like to do in your free time?
Bette: Reading and spending time with my grandson, Henry.

TD: What is your favorite “like” about Meals Plus and/or how has it helped your operations?
Bette: The speed and efficiency of Meals Plus saves me time and simplifies the application/reporting process. The site is easy to navigate. Customer service is outstanding and I can always get help with whatever issue I am having!

TD: What are your thoughts on Meals Plus customer service?
Bette: I have called the Meals Plus Help Desk many times and each rep has been very helpful, knowledgeable, courteous, and patient. They are always willing to help me find the solution to my questions–and I give them LOTS of opportunities to help me!

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