Heritage Cafeteria Makes Huge Leap to Cool Status
It was time. The cafeteria at Heritage needed a new face. Going from institutional to cool took some thinking and of course, money.
“The renovation took place in April and May of 2014,” said Food Service Director Alyssa Cundy. “The goal was to improve the experience for students. Before it was institutional with bare walls and a partition where they lined up. It was a typical high school lunchroom – boring and uninviting.”
Alyssa said they wanted to create a more home-like experience for students. Talk of changing the cafeteria started several years ago with ideas of adding a sound system for music and décor that would be more inviting.
Money was donated which put the plan in motion.
“Brenda Norman and I designed it all,” Alyssa said. “We talked with our CFO Jeremy Brown, then picked out everything. We looked on Pinterest and changed some ideas we saw a bit.”
Small bistro and large, custom-built group tables replaced cafeteria-style ones, several under a wonderful pergola. The décor is fun and eye-catching. White washed pallet wood and bead board was chosen. Colorful vinyl signs with positive sayings like, “A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck” cheer students.
“We wanted it to be rustic, like a cottage, with warm colors,” Alyssa said. “It needed to be home-like and calming. We put lights on the pergola at Christmas and other times which adds an extra nice effect.”
Even the way the food is offered is a change.
“When you walk in you see the salad bar first,” she said. “It is inset to granite countertops. There is laminate wood flooring and no partition.”
Some old things even seem new.
“It’s funny that the kids used to complain about the juice from the juice machine,” Alyssa laughed. “The juice is exactly the same as before but the kids don’t complain.”
Food complaints have gone down too.
“It’s pretty much the same food but complaints have gone down a lot,” she said. “We rotate menus three to four times a year. The complaints have dramatically gone way down – the only thing that has changed is the environment and where they are sitting.”
She also noticed the students take better care of their new cafeteria.
“Before kids carved on the tables,” she said. “Now the kids police themselves and remind each other to take care of things. They’ve been good at keeping it nice.”