After a successful first year, German International School in Boston is entering their second year with Smart Lunches this fall.
Our Regional Manager, Matt Ellis, sat down with German International’s school administrator, Megan Wells, to talk about what her experience has been like using our service.
Wells has the best of both worlds — mother of a student at the school and school administrator. With this dual perspective she was able to provide enlightening feedback.
E: Tell me why Smart Lunches is a good fit for German International.
W: Well, we don’t have our own kitchen facility. There’s not a lot in the neighborhood that our oldest kids can walk to, and our youngest kids clearly can not walk out to get their lunch.
So for us, we really needed someone to be able to come in. We really liked the variety from Smart Lunches.
One of our staff members had the Smart Lunch program at one of the camps that her daughter went to. And had a really good impression. They loved going on the website and seeing a picture of the food, and her daughter could choose which meal she wanted. It just made sense for us given our size and the size of all our students.
E: And this is the start of your second year with Smart Lunches. So, in the first year, what benefits have you seen personally? And what is the feedback you’ve gotten from parents?
W: Families really like how easy the website is. I know whenever there has been a concern expressed to me, I always say “Did you let Smart Lunches know?” And they’re like, “Oh I didn’t…”, and I say they really like to hear your feedback. Whenever they have, it’s always been a great experience. They’ve gotten their money back right away, or felt listened to.
For us that takes a huge piece off of the administration. Families really feel like they’re having a good experience, and they are having a great experience. The meals are healthy. They’re fresh. They arrive. They’re hot.
I also really like that the Smart Lunches person here in the building, supporting us, is basically a member of our team— really knows the students and is friendly with them. That’s a huge load off us as well. And a nice part for the kids.
E: And speaking of the administrative side of things— how has it been not having to worry? Do you have any concerns about the lunch program from an administrative point of view?
W: NO! ZERO! I mean that’s like the best part of it (laughs) if you ask an administrator. No, the best part is that the kids are getting great, healthy meals. But truth be told, that is a real perk, and having the back end flow so seamlessly, it really helps. It really helps us.
We’ve even had inspections from the school health folks and it’s been challenging. They’re not used to a program like this so they’ve been very.. Um.. I don’t know…prickly. And the Smart Lunch staff has been really helpful in helping us help them understand what it is we’re trying to do and come together around the goal of healthy meals for the students.
E: Excellent. If you could say anything to parents or schools that are considering using the program, what are your pieces of advice? What’s the takeaway that you have? If you could impart one or two pieces of advice to people who are considering using the program, be it a school itself, or parents.
W: Oh my goodness, I would say don’t hesitate. It’s really easy. It’s just easy. Everything about it is easy. The website is easy. Paying for it is easy. If something goes wrong, solving the problem is easy. You know your child is having great meals. And even if something were to go wrong with the order, there are extra meals delivered. There are backup snacks. It’s just really reliable and comfortable.
It’s just great knowing that your child is going to have a really healthy lunch. And you can spend that extra time with your kid in the morning if you don’t have to think about it.
E: That’s a great benefit.
W: Yeah I agree. I agree. Yeah cause I’m a school administrator and my child goes to the school, so for me, it’s that multiple perspective.
E: How many days do you guys have lunch delivered for your child?
W: Three days a week.
E: And so that allows you… You have a consistent three day a week plan, and the other days you make lunch or spend time with the child making lunch.
W: Yeah, and if we don’t want it, if for example we know it’s a holiday and we’re going to have a lot of leftovers, we can just cancel it. If we know dad is going to be away on a trip, or mom is going to be away, we add them in. It’s just easy.
E: As a parent, how does it free you up in the mornings?
W: We get to play trains! (Laughs) My son is three, so yeah we get to play, or I get to have a few more minutes to make sure breakfast gets down the hatch. Or you know, that snack is extra special. We still do a morning snack from home every day, because Smart Lunches comes at noon time.
So it’s just a blend, you know, and just having that flexibility to kind of mix and match and make a whole picture, is… it feels really comfortable, really easy.
And I get the lunches sometimes myself too, as an administrator, which is really relaxing and easy and helps me save time. I don’t have to run out for lunch. I can just knuckle down on the email.
E: So a way to phrase that would be, we create extra time in your day to complete the things that are important to you.
W: Exactly! That is exactly it. Yeah. And it’s really, it’s really just great to see the students coming down and grabbing their lunch off the table and greeting our lunch compatriot. (Laughs) What do you call that role?
E: Delivery Ambassador!
W: Yes! Your ambassador! Which for an international school, is just what it is.