Cafeteria Revival Checklist

Make your cafeteria comfortable and functional

  1. Are there enough seats in your cafeteria, including seats for those with special needs?

    • Some cafeterias are simply too small for the student population. In these cases, are there other places to eat your lunch on school property (e.g. picnic tables in the courtyard, tables and benches in the school atrium)?
    • Why stick with the usual benches? Try circle-tables, chairs with high backs and/or tables with charging stations
  2. Are there enough re-therm units for students (e.g. microwave ovens, toasters)?

    • Not only do you want to ensure enough pieces of equipment to heat up your lunch, but you also want to make sure there is a process in place to ensure they are kept clean and in working order
  3. Is it too loud in the cafeteria?

    • It can be unpleasant for some if it is too loud in the cafeteria. Is there a process in place to deal with too much noise? Some students may want quiet-time during their lunch break.  If this is the case, can you make a quiet room?
  4. Is there adequate lighting?

    • Whether it is natural light (i.e. from a window) or artificial light, lighting can make a difference to the “feel” of the cafeteria. Ensure your cafeteria is bright.
  5. Are your cafeteria walls upbeat and colourful, and not peeling nor in need of repair?

  6. Are there enough garbage bins? Is there a process for throwing out filled bins and putting new bags into the garbage?

  7. Is there adequate circulation of air so that ambient temperatures are comfortable and there are no offensive smells, especially around the re-therm units?

Make your cafeteria fun and inviting

  1. Is the cafeteria visually appealing and welcoming?

    • Are there pieces of art, murals and/or posters on the walls?
    • Consider having a mini-garden and/or hanging window clings to bring life to the cafeteria.
    • Consider playing music to create a fun atmosphere
  2. Do students feel comfortable eating foods from their own culture in front of their friends?

    • Ensure there is a process in place to deal with bullying
  3. Is there an efficient process for students to get through the servery without long line-ups?

    • Consider having multiple lunch periods, having an extra staff person (or student volunteer) behind the server or redesigning the area
  4. Are there interactive activities in the cafeteria during the lunch period?

    • Have different student groups host activities in the cafeteria such as trivia games, board games or puzzles
    • Create food-themed days (e.g. Mexican, Indian, Italian)
    • Host a Karaoke bar or Rap contest
    • Have recipe contests and taste-testing events
    • Set up a charging station for students
    • Install a wipe-board on the wall to help students work through problems as a group