PARKWAY — The Parkway School Board unanimously approved a one-year contract with food service management company Chartwells to support the district's nutrition services department.
“Our district-run food service department does a very good job, but we wanted to explore the possibility of partnering with a food service management company in order to improve our menu offerings and to take advantage of nationwide marketing knowledge,” said Patty Bedborough, Parkway's chief financial officer.
She said Parkway is unique in its food service operation, with a production center at each of its four high schools where all the food is made, and then taken to the five middle schools, 18 elementary schools and early childhood centers for serving.
The district will be able to retain all current food service employees, Bedborough said. The food service management program is paid for by meal purchases.
Erik Lueders, director of sustainability and purchasing, said that six companies had bid on the contract. “We'll still use our schoolyard gardens for some produce,” he said.
Marlene Pfeiffer, director of nutrition services, said Chartwells uses online surveys of students and offers allergen and nutrition information on a mobile app. The district expects the company's buying power to significantly lower food supply costs.