Creative First-Year Foodservice Director Boosts Breakfast

Amy Nichols, Foodservice Director, South Haven Public Schools, South Haven, MI

First-year Foodservice Director Amy Nichols dove in headfirst this year to implement “Grab and Go” breakfasts in three South Haven public schools. Since becoming foodservice director in January 2014, Amy has piloted several different options for increasing breakfast participation.

breakfastAmy is an innovator who is always willing to try new things. This year, for the first time, three South Haven schools have “Grab and Go” breakfasts. The middle school and high school have Grab and Go that is attractively and efficiently served using breakfast kiosks and iPads to track participation. (South Haven now has Community-Eligible Provision.)  Amy received one kiosk through funding from a grant from Fuel Up to Play 60 and purchased another. At the upper elementary school, fourth and fifth graders get their breakfasts from a modified Grab and Go setup. Her staff prepacks cold items such as milk, yogurt, or fruit, the day before. In the morning, they wheel out carts with the pre-bagged cold items. Alongside are warmer bags that contain items such as an egg burrito or waffle. As students walk by, foodservice staff members pop in hot items individually, and the students keep moving to their classrooms.  It’s a model that Amy says works very well.

team nutrition breakfast 2Amy believes the program’s success is the result of getting all the right players involved from the beginning.  Before she launched the program, she worked hard to educate and receive input from everyone: custodians, teachers, administrators, parents, and students. She also spent lots of upfront time attending staff meetings and talking about the link between breakfast and academic achievement, and explaining how she, with the help of other school staff, could make Grab and Go work. In the time since Amy has become foodservice director, participation in both breakfasts and lunches have increased. 


This story is part of a School Breakfast Success Story Compendium by Michigan Team Nutrition. To read more success stories, click here!


Nicholas Drzal, RD, MPH, Michigan Department of Education

Chris Flood, MS; Nutrition Communications Consultant, Healthy Habits Today

Amy Nichols, Foodservice Director, South Haven Public Schools, South Haven, MI