The Importance of Speed in School Cafeteria Serving Lines


During the usual 30-minute lunchtime, slow service in K-12 serving lines can add to the frustration of students and staff. Finding ways to streamline and speed up the process is critical to improving the situation. Delfield offers a variety of solutions that will combat serving line designs that may contribute to delays in the serving line process.

The Origins of School Lunch Periods

Within the last hundred years, school lunch periods have evolved considerably. Serving a traditional lunch to school children began at the local city and state levels. The first formal lunch program started in the late 1800s in Philadelphia. In 1946, President Harry S. Truman officially signed the National School Lunch Act into law, and states began receiving assistance to provide healthy and adequate food to school children.

Why Speed is Important in K-12 Serving Lines

A serving line’s layout can often contribute to slow lines caused by the flow of students between stations or a lack of state-of-the-art equipment. According to the CDC, some students don’t participate in school lunch programs because they lack time to eat. Schools must provide enough time for students to eat and not sit in class hungry, which can negatively affect their health and learning ability.

Serving Line Speed Solutions

To speed up the lunch line process and get the students to the table as quickly as possible, you can take charge with serving line solutions tailored to your needs. If you’re interested in moving around in the cafeteria or the classroom, try Grab N’ Go Mobile Carts. Available in various sizes of stainless steel, they are NSF approved. Offering grab-and-go options complement your serving line and help manage the flow.

Gone are the days when students relied on their teachers to provide a squirt of hand sanitizer as they entered the lunch lineup. Now there’s a self-contained station complete with fresh water. Delfield’s Sanitation Solution can accommodate up to 70 hand washings. Keeping your food safe from contamination with a counter protector just makes sense. Flexishield Counter Protectors allow you to adjust your serving style easily. They’re a great way to future-proof your serving counter as today’s products evolve into tomorrow’s countertop options.

Delfield offers a self-contained air curtain beverage cooler to keep beverages consistently cooled efficiently. It is perfect for the cafeteria and comes in 8, 12, and 16 milk crate capacities. Customizable is the word for today’s and tomorrow’s multi-temperature wells. If your placement of hot and cold wells is fixed, the serving line’s speed and food choices may be hindered.

When your needs require up to 6 wells to keep your foods warm or cold, look no further than FlexiWell. It can serve hot and cold products using individual controls. Plus, we offer the option of custom laminates and branding wraps tailored just for you. Powered by GreenGenius, a hydrogen-based refrigeration system guarantees it is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

By investing in equipment that allows for greater food placement flexibility, schools can improve their serving processes and expand their menu options.

The Final Outcome

In the U.S., many K-12 students participate in school lunch programs. Finding ways to speed up serving line times is needed. Be sure to consider factors such as the serving area’s square footage, menu options, and student population to find the best layout. You can do that when you use state-of-the-art Delfield Shelleysteel or Shelleyglas products. Plus, there’s a 2-year warranty on parts and labor and a 7-year warranty on compressors. The convenience and flexibility of Delfield’s customized solutions will get your serving line up to speed.