EXTENDED ORDER WINDOW FOR CUSTOMIZATION
BEFORE: Orders after noon, 3-days in advance limited to three standard side configurations: an apple and Pirate’s Booty; apple crisps, carrots, and milk; or apple, carrots, and milk.
STARTING OCT. 4: Full A La Carte customization of sides available up until 9am the day before.
Why the Change?
We recently shifted the full menu entree ordering deadline to noon 3-days prior to service. Product and ingredient sourcing remains one of our greatest challenges this year, and the revised deadline allowed us to get a better handle on our procurement and make sure we weren’t stocking out of ingredients necessary to make and deliver our preordered entrees within hours of needing to deliver to our schools.
The unfortunate side effect of the revised entree ordering deadline was that late orders after the deadline did not allow for any customization of lunch sides. You could still order your hot entree of choice based on availability, but you were stuck with only a standard configuration of lunch sides as an option.
Beginning in October, we have enhanced the ordering experience to allow for full customization of lunch sides up until 9am the day before! We’re excited for the change and know our families will be too. If you have an entree on order, you can even add or remove sides from your lunch ordering without a late ordering fee.
One known limitation of the system is that you cannot change your entree after noon 3-days in advance. If you decide you want a different entree after the full menu deadline has passed, you have to cancel the entire lunch (including the sides), and your available entree selections will be limited to regular-sized hot entrees based on availability. We know canceling the entire lunch order is not ideal, and we’re planning on enhancing this experience in the future to allow for customers to change entrees without cancelling the order. This change likely will not be available until later this year.
IMPORTANT: The number of emergency lunches available at your school will likely change going forward. In the past, the number of emergency lunches have been based on two factors the number of emergency lunches used and recorded at the lunch counter, as well as the remainder of the unsold last-minute lunches that were forecasted for that day. On the whole, we’ve been sending significantly more emergency lunches this year, as we increased the volume of available entrees for late ordering as part of the change to the 3-day noon full menu ordering deadline. Going forward, we are revising this forecast to help control waste. The number of emergency lunches sent daily will be based solely on the historical usage of emergency lunches recorded as part of your school’s daily Lunch Service Notes process.
Ingredient sourcing remains a challenge.
As consumers, we’re all experiencing shortages and stock outs in restaurants, coffee shops, and in grocery. The shortages seem to be hitting prepared foods in particular, with favorites like mini-pancakes, French toast, potato skins, tortellini and ravioli, gluten-free chicken tenders, and even samosas and potstickers simply stocking out. Our A La Carte sides have not been spared either, with seaweed, Izzes, and Vermont Smoke and Cure meat sticks being highly inconsistent n sourcing. We are laser-focused on this every single day and are continually adapting and modifying our menu to deal with the ever-shifting landscape.
It’s certainly not ideal, and the result is our team having to change a customer’s preordered entree to something else on the menu that day. Our goal is to identify these shortages early, make the menu change swiftly, and notify the customer with as much time as possible to change or cancel the order if they don’t like the substitute. It’s not perfect, but communicating early and often in these circumstances is all we can do in light of the challenges.
It’s been a challenging start to the school year, and even despite early bumps in the road, we continue to improve. I know we are not the only business facing these challenges, and I remain confident that even in light of the disruptions, we are the absolute best at what we do. Knowing you’re the best at something doesn’t give you any consolation though when you’re falling short of your own expectations. We know our level of excellence is not yet where we want it to be, or where you expect it to be. My commitment to you is that we will keep fighting every single day, making the improvements and modifications necessary to bring Choicelunch to the level of excellence that you and I both have grown to expect of our company.
Thank you for your continued partnership, and for your patience, understanding, and kindness. We are blessed to have wonderful partners in our school community, and we look forward to continuing to deliver on the program your students, parents, and community deserves.
Best and sincerely,