Boost satisfaction and participation with parent outreach.
Focusing on student experience in the dining hall is a no-brainer, but engaging with parents can be an important and often overlooked avenue to improved satisfaction and participation.
Just like parent-teacher conferences and administrative announcements, your dining program’s communication with parents helps families feel connected to—and invested in—the work you’re doing to keep their children happy and healthy at school.
How can you use your dining program to open another door for connection with families?
A quick weekly email to families with dining program news, menus, birthdays, and staff highlights can help build trust with parents and build stronger connections to your school and its mission. Giving parents a big-picture view of everything happening in your dining program is a great way to increase participation, too! It doesn’t have to be a lengthy email—just a quick weekly check-in goes a long way. Ending your email with a personal signature from the dining manager or supervisor makes the update feel more personal.
Invite them to lunch
Does your school already have an open door policy when it comes to parents joining students for lunch? If so, lunch visits can be a wonderful way for parents to experience a slice of their students’ days, give special attention to their kiddo(s), and experience the hard work you put into making your dining program exceptional. Make sure parents know they’re welcome with periodic email invitations, announcements, and other outreach. Encourage visitors to sample the dishes on your menu, too!
Ask for their feedback.
Even though parents don’t experience the day-to-day dining environment at your school, they probably have thoughts to share. Show them their opinions matter with regular surveys, emails, or other feedback-gathering efforts. You’ll get a better understanding of parent perception and likely get some ideas for how to make your dining program even better for the families in your care.
Bonus tip: if your surveys aren’t anonymous, a personal response can go a long way—especially if you can tell a parent exactly how you’re addressing a concern or suggestion.
Make it personal.
No matter how you choose to communicate with parents, let them know it’s coming from YOU, the dining services team. Parents are used to receiving communication from teachers and administrators about all sorts of school functions, but an email directly from the dining services team shows them that your hands-on team is invested and involved in creating the best possible dining experience for their students.
How does your dining program communicate with families? Let us know!
Looking for a creative, nimble partner to help you do more with your private school’s dining program? Get in touch with Pedestal Foods here.