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Last year, our Meals Plus Help Desk received a major award! They were ranked by the HDI Customer Satisfaction Index as 23rd in the world for elite customer service. Now, you may be wondering two things: What is the HDI Customer Satisfaction Index? And why does it matter that Meals Plus was recognized by them?

Well, the HDI is the world’s largest professional association and certification body for technical service and support professionals. They rank customer support centers from across the country and across many industries. Each year, they rank the top fifty technical support centers based off a year’s worth of responses to this question: “How satisfied are you with the overall service experience?” They know what good technical support is.

And why does it matter that our team was recognized? Because your child nutrition software is only as good as the technical support that stands behind it! If a question or issue arises, you need to get answers and resolutions quickly, so you can get back to managing your cafeterias. And, of course, it’s nice that our technical account specialists are not only knowledgeable, but friendly. 🙂

If your software system isn’t backed by the friendliest and helpful team around, contact me today and I’ll show you how our software (and technical support team!) can help keep your lunchlines moving!

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Happy New Year! We are officially halfway through the school year, and according to Meals Plus’ Child Nutrition Operations Consultant, Cynthia Sevier, SNS, now is a great time to look at your inventory levels! Continue to read for her inventory management tips, and for more information on Cynthia’s consulting services, contact Meals Plus today.

As the first half of the school year quickly approaches, it is a good time to take a look at inventory levels in schools. Inventory control is having enough inventory on hand to meet expectations within a certain period of time, but not having excess that lends itself to spoilage or theft. High inventories tie up cash, take up storage space and are more difficult to count. Low inventories result in the inability to follow menus or standardized recipes, which can affect participation or acceptability of the finished products. It could also have a direct impact on whether or not federal and state program regulations are met.

So how much inventory is excessive or inadequate? Inventory level goals can be set for each school site based on food costs and the number of days of inventory that is on hand. Measure of inventory efficiency is the number of days on hand and the turnover rate.

Most authorities set the standard of having 7-10 days of inventory on hand and have a turnover rate of 2-3.

Using food cost goals as a percent to revenue and determining inventory levels can not only help managers to be aware of the processes of ordering, receiving, production and tracking food at their school, but to also look for ways to control waste and theft.

For additional information on inventory control for your child nutrition department, take a look at the white paper I authored, “Managing the Money on the Pantry Shelves.”

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Meals Plus is built exclusively for K-12 school district cafeterias. Our cafeteria software system is developed, sold and supported by team members that spend time in school cafeterias. Why does that matter to you as child nutrition professionals? I’ll tell you!

As I said, from the ground up, our software is built with K-12 school cafeteria operations in mind. So that means that when you, your district staff, cafeteria managers and cashiers login to Meals Plus, they see software features that pertain to them. They aren’t distracted or bogged down with software functions that don’t pertain to them. They can log in and quickly accomplish what’s necessary for their operations.

As you are well aware, state and federal requirements for child nutrition are constantly changing. Our team stays on top of new laws and requirements and implement the changes in a timely manner. We understand what it takes to run your program – a product that is fast, easy-to-use and reliable when meeting state and federal requirements.

And because our entire business model is based around you and your child nutrition department, our entire success is based on how happy you are. If K-12 school districts aren’t using our product, we have no other industry to fall back on. We would be out of business, it’s as simple as that!

Meals Plus cafeteria software product suite consists of everything you need to manage your child nutrition department: point of sale, online meal payments and applicationsfree and reduced, menus and nutrient analysis, inventory, asset managementaccountability and financial/statistical software. We even integrate with many student information systems, including PowerSchool. Contact me today for a free demo at 1-800-541-8999 or joy@mealsplus.com today!


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To show our appreciation to YOU – our Meals Plus Customers – we have delivered one free copy of our first Meals Plus Customer Cookbook to your district! Every district that uses Meals Plus received their free copy this month, and additional copies are available for purchase for only $15 each. The proceeds from the cookbook purchases will be donated to the No Kid Hungry Campaign. Click here for the order form.

This cookbook is filled with over 50 popular recipes in an effort to help increase participation in the lunchroom, while still meeting USDA meal pattern regulations. It also includes creative promotional ideas, Meals Plus software tips, and advice from our Child Nutrition Operations Consultant, Cynthia Sevier, SNS. Limited quantities are available, and you need to place your order by December 31, 2015, so be sure to order yours today!

Want to submit a recipe for our 2016 Customer Cookbook? Email them to recipes@mealsplus.com. You can submit as many recipes as you’d like, and we welcome photos of your dishes.

What did you think of your cookbook? I’d love to hear about it!

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Meals Plus Accountability Software is an integral part of our school lunchroom software suite. What exactly is it and why do I think your child nutrition department need it? I’ll tell you!

I’ve spent a lot of time in school cafeterias, and am very familiar with the day-to-day tasks that child nutrition directors are responsible for. I also know what my customers love about Meals Plus, and the Daily Deposit portal and report hub is a customer favorite. They can find lots of useful reports, such as Unclosed Dates and Meals Per Labor Hour, in one central location.

Meals Plus Account Manager Joy Miller calls Meals Plus Accountability “Photoshop for Child Nutrition,” and that makes perfect sense. You can edit your Daily Deposits without losing your “original picture” in Meals Plus Point of Sale. And Child Nutrition Operations Consultant Cynthia Sevier, SNS, used Meals Plus Accountability when she was a child nutrition director in North Carolina. She was able to check for errors before making her reimbursement claim by using the Reimbursement Report, which could be separated by school and category (Breakfast, Lunch, Milk and Snack). The Revenue Summary Report showed Cynthia exactly where her revenue was coming from. And the Aging Report allowed her to maximize her number of free and reduced students. The report showed her which students had charges on their account and how old their account was, and she could determine which students could potentially qualify for free or reduced meals.

Want to see Meals Plus Accountability for yourself? Contact me today for a free demo or 30 day trial!


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I’m very excited to announce that Meals Plus 9 will be available this fall! Meals Plus will be better than ever, with more integration between our cafeteria management systems and it will be even easier to navigate. Meals Plus 9 will be available via our quarterly software update, so your system will update the same way you always have, and it’s completely free. And I’m especially excited about the “MyMealsPlus” dashboard – it allows you to bookmark items that you frequently use in the system, so you save time!

Here are 9 of the things I know my customers are going to love about Meals Plus 9’s My Meals Plus Dashboard:

  • Faster access to what you need to accomplish your day-to-day tasks
  • You create Favorites (or “bookmark”) features and reports that you use the most, for example: the “Account Setup” in Point of Sale or “Manage Application” in Free and Reduced
  • You can have multiple screens open at the same time on your My Meals Plus page. That’s right – you can access your Favorites at the same time, making you even more efficient
  • Favorites can be sorted in any order and put into customizable Categories

Click image to enlarge

  • There’s even more customization – the My Meals Plus page background and the color of your Favorites buttons can be customized. Maybe you can show your school pride by color coordinating your My Meals Plus page to your school’s colors!
  • You can choose your own “avatar”, or profile picture, from the avatar library
  • You can easily keep up with Meals Plus news with the live news feed from the Meals Plus Blog 
  • There are also “quick links” for remote techn support and online help files
  • And a “Tips” box will appear when you first log into Meals Plus 9 that will tell you how to customize your My Meals Plus page

If you’d like to get a sneak peak of Meals Plus 9, contact me today for a free cafeteria software web demo. I can’t wait to show you how you can drastically save time on your day-to-day tasks with Meals Plus.

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Malissa Marsden, SNS is a wealth of child nutrition knowledge. As a consultant that works with USDA agriculture marketing boards (aka USDA Commodity Boards), she connects USDA Foods with tasty recipes that child nutrition directors can easily find online. She works with organizations like the American Egg Board and Mushroom Council to create recipes that meet USDA requirements, are not labor intensive for your staff and that kids actually want to eat.

One of her most recent recipe “success stories” is a Breakfast Pancake Parfait, which she created by layering (1) USDA whole grain frozen pancake, ½ cup vanilla yogurt and ½ cup frozen USDA Tart Cherries in a parfait cup. The cafeteria staff was able to make this recipe the previous afternoon and it was a perfect fit for Grab-and-Go or Breakfast in the Classroom. And doesn’t it sound yummy??

Malissa loves getting into her test kitchen with a new USDA Food and most recently she has been creating recipes using USDA IQF Diced Mushrooms. They are now available for direct delivery, and are a great option for vegetarian recipes. Click here for all of her mushroom recipes, including her newest recipe – Margherita & Mushroom Pizza. I’m hungry just looking at the picture!

And guess what nutritional analysis system Malissa uses to build her recipes? That’s right – the Meals Plus Menu Planning and Nutrient Analysis program! Malissa considers our program a key tool in creating recipes that she knows can be used in a K-12 school environment. With the program, she determines meal equivalents and nutrients, provides benchmarks and the recipes can be standardized by the school to fit their operations.

Keep an eye on your Inbox for more recipes from Malissa (subscribe here if you haven’t already), and if you’d like a free web demo of our Meal Planning and Nutrient Analysis software, contact me today!


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It’s no secret – “back to school” time can be stressful, maybe even intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Every year, we strive to make sure your school cafeteria software system is running smoothly, and if there are any technical issues, they are handled quickly. So that you have one less thing to stress about during what can be the most hectic time of the year.

The Meals Plus Help Desk receives the most customer calls in August, and our level of customer support statistics doesn’t diminish. Check out these stats from August 2015:

  • The average time to answer our customers’ calls was only a minute and 13 seconds, a record low!
  • The average time on the phone was only 11 minutes and 42 seconds.
  • And our first-call resolution was 91%, which means that questions were answered or issues were solved on the first call 91% of the time!

We send randomly generated surveys to customers after they call into the Help Desk, and here are just some of the comments from Meals Plus customers this past August:

  • “BEST customer support I have ever talked to! Thank you so much!”
  • “Always professional and thorough; the Meals Plus support is exceptional.”
  • “Wonderful! Very quick to help and quick with response to fix issue.”
  • “I am very pleased with the system and the technical support group. They are awesome! They are very patient and go that extra mile to make sure that I understand their answer to my questions or concerns. I am so glad we went with Meals Plus.”
  • “We have never had a problem with Meals Plus. I am able to call and get a quick answer and the staff is always very friendly!”
  • “It was perfect! They knew exactly what I needed, and I was off the phone in no time! I wish everything was this easy!” 🙂

WOW! Pretty amazing, right? Every child nutrition professional deserves technical support like this, especially during the busiest time of the year. If you didn’t have this level of customer support, give me a call and let’s chat about how Meals Plus can help keep your lunchline moving AND keep your sanity intact.

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Meals Plus doesn’t just provide software for every portion of your child nutrition department. They also offer Windows Server Monitoring and Automated Cloud Backup! We make sure all of your data is protected, so you can rest easy and get back to the important things – managing your cafeterias!

Did You Know?  Every week about 140,000 hard drives crash in the US and 25 million Windows computers crash daily. Don’t take any chances! Ask about our regular server monitoring or cloud based backup services.

What Do You Get? 

  • Server Monitoring: your server will be monitored 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year by our Meals Plus Microsoft Certified IT Team.
  • Cloud Based Backup: Meals Plus recovery assistance with daily automated cloud based data backup.

Contact me today for more information and pricing!


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I often say that “software is only as good as the customer support that stands behind it.” That’s where Meals Plus really shines! We ensure that when you call our Help Desk, you have not only a friendly specialist to assist you, but also a knowledgeable one! So you can get the answer you need quickly and get back to your day. But sometimes a specialist needs to go “above and beyond,” and you can’t get a better example than this:

A few years ago, Training and Implementation Specialist Dolly received a call from Marilyn, Enyart, Food Services Supervisor at Bloom-Carroll Local School District, in Carroll, Ohio. Dolly was able to assist her with quickly, but Marilyn Enyart was concerned and had a question about our Free or Reduced management software. She was ready to contact Ohio’s department of Education when a question about the districts understanding of the eligibility chart came up. After Dolly and Marilyn’s conversation was over, Dolly voluntarily did some investigating and was able to find the issue and call Marilyn back immediately with the answer. In a support call follow- up survey, Marilyn proclaimed, “[Dolly]” was great!… I am glad that she was caring enough to look further into my situation after I hung up.”

For more on our Help Desk, including customer support statistics and our Service Level Agreement, click here!

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