School nutrition professionals run a tight ship when it comes to staying within their allotted program budgets. Between planning their menus to a T, double- and triple-checking their inventory, and counting and re-counting the money in the cashier drawer, it is absolutely necessary for school nutrition professionals to be fiscally responsible. In an effort to further cut operational costs and improve the efficiency of their programs, schools across the nation are utilizing satellite kitchens.
Satellite kitchens prepare food in an off-site location, then deliver the food to the schools at mealtime. KHON2 reported that these satellite kitchens are helping schools in Hawaii cut operational costs, while also ensuring that the schools are complying with all guidelines set forth by the Department of Health. By eliminating the staff and equipment used to run an on-site kitchen, Hawaii “saves around $230,000 per school” and a price increase on school lunches “was taken off the table”. Low-cost school meals and reduced operational costs makes for happy parents and happy administrators.
Of the 200 plus schools in Hawaii, 62 of them are currently utilizing satellite kitchens run by the Department of Education. Concerns have been raised, however, regarding the management of the satellite kitchens. Peter Oshiro from the Department of Health assures any skeptics that these kitchens are well-maintained and heavily regulated, just like any school kitchen.
“The Department of Education employees are very diligent, especially the cafeteria managers making sure food is really prepared,” said Oshiro. “So it’s very rare that we have any kind of problems