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Retail Foodservice

A New Take for Grocerants: School Lunch

Restaurants in some regions are already dabbling in cafeteria delivery


lempert


Turns out that making school lunches is one of parents’ least favorite events and adds a bunch of stress to an already busy life.

Lisa Farrell launched Red Apple Lunch, according to an interview in the Star Tribune, after market research confirmed her suspicion that lunch packing was a "stress point" for parents. "You only have so much time in the day," she said. "Some customers didn't like what was offered at school. Folks just needed another option."

She and her team pack healthy lunches, incorporating local food when possible, and deliver them to homes so that kids can take them to school the next two days. The company delivers two lunches on Monday and two on Wednesday. 

Kiddos Catering in Chicago has come up with a different twist: providing restaurant meals to schools that contract with it. Owner Michelle Moses and her staff work with area restaurants to create a variety of kid-friendly choices, and they deliver the meals to the schools five days a week. Parents select the lunches from an online order form that lists the day's featured restaurant and its menu choices.The schools appreciate that Moses handles the ordering, payment, pickup and food distribution in the cafeteria.

Spencer Wood told the paper that when his daughter forgot her lunch last spring, he arranged for the local Panera to deliver her a meal. "I called the school to make sure it was OK, and they said families do it all the time," said Wood. "They were very helpful, telling me when to have it sent and reminding me to tip the driver. "

Some schools around the country are allowing this, and some are not. But the opportunity for grocerants is very real, and worth exploringnot just to make one delivery to one student but to develop a program with the school that offers an assortment to many students (one delivery for, say, 20 or more). And it builds your store’s brand with the next generation of shoppers at the same time.

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