Breakfast Kiosks Really Work

Healthy Food Choices in Schools March 10, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

breakfast fruit

Mary Kurkowski, Foodservice Director, Port Huron Public Schools, Port Huron, MI

Thanks to some new boost breakfast strategies, Port Huron school foodservice staff members are extra busy with breakfast.  Each day, more than 4,350 breakfasts are served to almost 9,600 students in Port Huron Public Schools. How do they do it? Breakfast kiosks are one way that works at Holland Middle School.  

One of the main factors that contribute to Port Huron’s school breakfast success is that its foodservice director, Mary Kurkowski, takes the time to investigate and develop an individualized plan for each school building. Kurkowski explains that, “What works well in one building might not work in another. You have to be flexible to find the right fit.”  This year, what fit best in Holland Middle School is breakfast kiosks.

Each morning, hurried students enter the middle school and pass by one of two breakfast kiosks that are actually moveable salad bars. At each kiosk, there are two different breakfast choices, a hot choice and a cold choice.  Students’ favorites include: Breakfast Fruit Parfaits, Mini Chocolate Chip Pancakes and a variety of breakfast breads with apples slices and bananas as their favorite fruit choice.

For the students who arrive late to school and may not have time to choose from the different breakfast components offered, foodservice staff provide already-bagged hot or cold breakfast. This new model is working extremely well. Breakfast participation at Holland Middle School has increased from 150 breakfasts per day to over 370.

According to Kurkowski there are many benefits to breakfast kiosks in addition to increased revenue.  The kiosk set-up reduces packaging costs, decreases time and labor cost due to eliminating the need for extra food service staff to deliver breakfast to the classrooms,  improves accuracy in record keeping because teachers no longer have to keep track of meal counts, and increases employment opportunities for community members because more food service workers are needed because breakfast counts are up.   

One of Mary’s most important recommendations for implementing a breakfast kiosk program – or any change to the current school breakfast system –  is to make sure you have strong administrative and teacher support first. She advises others to talk to their principals, teachers, and custodians before implementing any changes to address any concerns they might have before the new program begins. One concern classroom teachers voiced at Holland Middle School was clean up. Now Mary provides desk wipes to each classroom, and that concern has been eliminated.  Open communication is key.

By taking part in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and by serving breakfast via kiosks, Mary reports that they have eliminated some of the stigma attached to who receives subsidized school meals and who doesn’t. Every student in the Port Huron district who wants school breakfast now gets it free.  Students are in their classrooms on time, nourished and ready to learn.

This story is part of a School Breakfast Success Story Compendium by Michigan Team Nutrition. To read more success stories, click here! 


Contributors

Nicholas Drzal, RD, MPH, Michigan Department of Education

Chris Flood, MS; Nutrition Communications Consultant, Healthy Habits Today

Mary Kurkowski, Foodservice Director, Port Huron Public Schools, Port Huron, MI

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.