Photo courtesy of Pick Up Stix and Pizza Hut

AUSD partners with restaurant chains

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During the recently implemented daily lunch program, the district announced that they will be partnering with two different local restaurant chains for school meals. Pick Up Stix supplies schools with their fresh and hot house chicken with rice, and Pizza Hut serves pepperoni pizza for school meals. Their meals are distributed to students every other Wednesday. 

Pick Up Stix and Pizza Hut are popular restaurants, offering items that are cost-effective in regards to volume and demand for schools. The district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department aims for a variety of food in their schools’ menus; thus, resulting in the partnership with these restaurants. 

“We believe our students deserve the best options available to them,” Vivien Watts, Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services, said. “Both Pizza Hut and Pick Up Stix are vendors who were awarded a Request for Proposal, meeting the complicated procurement and nutritional requirements of school meals.”

The process in which these restaurants deliver the meals to schools is complicated, as it is based on the amount of food given out each week. However, Food and Nutrition Services continue to plan orders out to ensure the meals are distributed on time.

“Once we receive the items, either in the district’s Central Production Kitchen or the site kitchens, we need to package them before we could serve at the curbside,” Watts said. “There is a lead time of orders at least two weeks in advance [and] the challenge of forecasting a good enough amount to order.”

The district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department has been pleased with the cooperation between them and the two vendors. They will continue searching for new partners that meet the complex meal requirements and regulations. 

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