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Take our canteens for granted? Never!

Did you know that our canteens serve 900 meals daily? And this figure doesn’t take into account all the snacks and drinks sold daily plus the many catering requests that arrive with great rapidity.

As parents, it’s easy to take our canteens for granted. Although we know that our children can go to school in the morning minus their lunch in their bag, we may not give much thought to everything that goes on after that. Enjoying the independence of buying something of their choosing, our children still end up with a nutritious, reasonably priced meal at lunch time that powers them up for an afternoon’s study. It’s reassuring to know that they’ll be served in well-laid out, bright and colourful, clean and open canteens 

that have a great selection of food. And just as importantly, we can rest easy knowing that our children will be served by smiling, helpful staff. That’s a lot to take for granted.

It wasn’t always this way. Prior to a substantial upgrade in 2016, students were served from the small PAC canteen and an E block canteen that was half its current size! The newly upgraded facilities, funded by a P&C loan, resulted in a total rethink of the delivery of food services for State High which has proved both exciting and challenging.

In 2017 BSHS welcomed Rafia Mehtab as Senior Canteen Manager, and in early 2018 she became the Food Service Manager overseeing the three South Brisbane canteens and Fursden Road sports event food operations. With the help of our past P&C VP Operations Angela Dolores, and current VP Operations Claire Messoussa, Rafia and Angela began the process of reinventing our canteens into enormously successful operations.

Aided by an amazing and experienced team, and drawing on Rafia’s degree in Food and Nutrition and experience in office catering, school event planning, and retail management, the canteens have been completely transformed.

In mid 2018, the PAC canteen re-opened, initially as a test case. The P&C had been receiving comments from parents that their children weren’t buying lunch because the lines were too long at I Block and therefore were going without food. The test was a resounding success, leading to the P&C operating three canteens providing lunch every school day and vastly improving quality and speed of service.

The work of streamlining and improvement has been ongoing. We can now proudly say that our canteens:

  • Following strict quality control processes and procedures for food safety, equipment management, food handling and service,
  • Ensure that all menus follow the SMART choices guide,
  • Provide consistent service and menu options,
  • Have streamlined and improved menu development and food procurement processes, and
  • Have implemented sustainability initiatives across all aspects of the operation (keep an eye out for a forthcoming ‘Greening our Canteens’ blog for more).

The canteen has also helped other P&C sub-committees to order their food and run BBQs. Recently, the canteen has helped Girls Football, State High Day, a Rowing Regatta and a Cricket Sausage Sizzle. All profits go back to the groups that volunteer, but the canteen takes the angst out of food ordering and delivery for busy parents.

After all of this, we’re pretty sure no-one will ever take the canteens for granted again.