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Top 10 School Menu Cost Saving Tips

Saving money on school menus can be a challenge, but it's essential to provide nutritious meals for students while staying within budget constraints. Here are some cost-saving tips for school menus:

1. Menu planning

• Develop a menu rotation that utilises seasonal and cost-effective ingredients.

• Incorporate versatile ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes.

• Plan meals that require minimal prep time and labour to reduce staffing costs.

2. Buy in bulk

• Purchase non-perishable items, such as grains, pasta, and canned goods, in bulk to take advantage of discounts.

3. Reduce waste

• Implement portion control to prevent over-serving and food waste.

• Use leftovers creatively by incorporating them into the next day's menu.

4. Cook from scratch

• Prepare more items from scratch instead of relying on pre-packaged or processed foods, which can be more expensive.

• Untilise kitchen equipment efficiently to save time and energy.

5. Menu diversification

• Offer vegetarian and vegan options, which can be more budget-friendly than meat-based dishes.

• Explore international cuisines that use affordable ingredients and spices to add variety to the menu.

6. Food safety & storage

• Train staff in proper food storage and handling techniques to prevent spoilage and waste.

• Invest in efficient refrigeration and storage solutions to extend the shelf life of ingredients.

7. Menu promotion

• Promote school meals to increase participation, which can help offset costs.

• Implement promotional events, such as themed lunch days, to attract students.

8. Energy efficiency

• Use energy-efficient appliances and lighting in the kitchen to reduce utility costs.

• Implement energy-saving practices, like turning off equipment when not in use.

9. Staff training

• Continuously train staff in cost-effective cooking techniques and menu planning.

• Cross-train employees to perform multiple tasks, reducing the need for additional staff.

10. Monitor & adjust

• Regularly review your budget and expenses to identify areas where you can cut costs without sacrificing food quality or safety.

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