After a holiday break, Maple Elementary students returned to school on January 2nd to find an exciting change to the cafeteria lunch line procedure. With close to 500 students, lunchtime can get a little chaotic. Cafeteria Manager, Shannon Profit and school Principal, Jerome Stover wanted to create a better system. (photos below)

Here’s how the new system works: Students make their lunch choice in the classroom (each entree is labeled as A, B or C). When they arrive in the cafeteria, students line-up according to their choice, using the new floor decals to guide them. Then, the kids move in an orderly fashion (A, B and then C) to receive their lunch. 

The new procedure works to create order, improve flow, reduce confusion, increase accuracy of pre-ordered lunches and move the kids quickly and efficiently through the line. Time saved through greater efficiency results in giving kids more time to eat and enjoy a healthy lunch.  

Teachers jumped on board to help teach their students about the new process. Some even took time to do a practice run before lunch. Since the implementation, lots of positive feedback has come from students, teachers, cafeteria staff and Administration

Time Dedication/Commitment

Observing the lunchline through multiple shifts is helpful to determine if there is an opportunity for improvement. It will be necessary to meet with the cafeteria manager to understand the current process, what is working well and where challenges may lie. The cafeteria manager and FSNE employee should come up with an initial plan of action before meeting with the school principal. If on board, the school principal will likely communicate the new plan to the staff. Once a plan for a new lunchline process is established, materials can be considered and ordered. When a date for the implementation is decided upon, staff will alert students and changes can be made. It is helpful for the FSNE employee and cafeteria manager to be present on the day of the new roll out for any troubleshooting and to help provide guidance and clarification. 

Materials Needed

The two options are to use professional or “do it yourself” decals. Due to heavy traffic and repeated cleaning, we decided to go with a professional application to ensure safety and durability. 

We used a local graphics company who had done previous graphics/school logo work for the school. It makes sense to work with existing vendors if possible because they will have the correct school colors on file. 

Do-it-yourself decals are available from companies like Oriental Trading Post and Amazon.



Feedback from the school:

“The decals are bright and boldly colored, and they catch the eyes of students, staff and visitors.  Students are eager to get to the “start line.” This really makes lunch exciting and fun for students.” – Mrs. Bissett, Vice Principal

 “I LOVE it! It’s so much easier to get the kids lined up when I drop them off for lunch” – Mrs. Thomas, 3rd grade teacher

“It is so much faster now to get your lunch. There is less time standing in line and more time to eat and talk to friends.”- Ariyana Greene and Patience Allen, students

 “It took the kids a little time to get used to but now it is so much more efficient, and things run smoother! I feel more productive. This is a huge hit with the younger grades because it’s like a fun game getting to stand on “your letter.” – Emily Howard, Cafeteria staff

“I love how organized things are. There is a clearly defined flow, and both staff and students know exactly what they are supposed to be doing.” – Mrs. Eberspacher, School Guidance Counselor