Cook's Direct Foodservice Equipment and Supply

November 7th 2022

For school food service programs aiming to satisfy meal pattern requirements, salad bars are a great choice. A school salad bar may offer a variety of ingredients, providing students the choice to assemble a salad to their liking. Because salad bars offer variety and let students create their own meals, they are popular with students. We'll go over a few things today to make sure the salad bar at your school complies with USDA rules and regulations.

Placement is important when using salad bar service. Salad bars should be placed before the Point of Service. If this is not achievable, an alternative procedure should be put in place. This is to make sure that every student chooses a lunch that will end up reimbursed. The USDA considers unattended salad bars that are placed after the point of service to be extra food, therefor not counting towards a reimbursable meal. To further ensure that each student’s selections from the salad bar meet the required portions for a reimbursable meal, schools are required to identify reimbursable meal items towards the beginning of the serving line.

Another thing to consider creating is a standardized recipe for your salad bar. Standardized recipes not only promote uniform food quality, they also help with consistent production, and assist in keeping food costs under control. Standardized recipes also allow you to perform an accurate nutrient analysis. To figure out how much of each ingredient to use in your recipe, measure the quantity of each ingredient you put on the salad bar on a regular day and the amount of food left over after meal service.

Last but not least, food safety. It is important to control contamination from all sources and maintain proper food temperature when serving. For salad bars in K-5 schools, all food should be pre-wrapped, or be served to students based on the choices they make.

When preparing to serve students it is important to keep what we covered in mind at all times. Having the right set up and plan put in place can make a world of a difference. At Cook’s we have a wide range of kitchen equipment and supplies. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. We are happy to assist you with any questions you may have.