I was recently scheduled to do a demo on one of our CVap® Retherm Ovens at the Tift County School District in Georgia. I was looking at their menus for that day to see what we would be cooking when I saw the words: NO SCHOOL/PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE. A frightening thought entered my mind. I feared that no staff would be there and we would need to reschedule. Actually, my first thought was, YES! No School! A juvenile reflex, I guess. So I sent a note to Kogi, one of the Assistants to the Director, and asked if they would be in that day. “Yes,” she said, “it’s a student holiday, but still a work day.” Awesome, not only will they be in, but I’ll have their complete attention while doing my demo. But, will they be in a bad mood? As it turned out, not these lunch ladies!

The kitchen was humming when I walked in. Everyone was busy cleaning and organizing. The manager gathered her flock around the CVap oven for my demo. And just as I had hoped, they gave their complete attention. They were engaged, asking questions, even smiling. We cooked frozen pizzas on Channel 3 for about 12 minutes. Naturally, they came out great. The ladies ate and we talked, but then they went right back to the deep clean, smiles still on their faces. I was borderline astonished. These ladies were doing the job most people hate (imagine deep cleaning your kitchen and multiply it by ten). But they also have to listen to me, a company gasbag, trying to tell them how to use our oven.

Recognition for a Challenging Job

A little background on what lunchroom staffs do each day. Nationwide, these workers prepare and serve over 30 million lunches and 14 million breakfasts daily. Some even provide meals at night and through the summer for their communities. They greet rambunctious kids with a smile and perhaps the only nourishment they will receive that day. Then they clean and scrub and, for a lot of them, it’s off to the next job. Let’s face it, it’s not the most glamorous in the world and it’s certainly not the highest paying. Many of them have a second occupation and they are most likely the ones cooking and cleaning at home. It’s a thankless job.

It would’ve been so easy for the staff at 8th Street Middle School to mail it in and be crabby, thinking about what they could’ve been doing had they not been at work. But, not today. Not these lunch ladies!

Remember to tell your lunch staff thanks for the delicious food they prepare and all the hard work they do for you each day. Trust me, they will appreciate it more than you know!