Carla McKenzie, (right), is the managing director of MYA Consulting, specialising in the private schools sector. She has previously been director of catering at the Royal Festival Hall and South Bank Centre. The full version of this article appeared Impact 6 (2008).
“What do famous schools like Gordenstoun, Marlborough College, Haileybury and King’s School have in common – apart from representing the cream of independent schools in the UK and providing the next generation of political leaders and opinion formers who will shape how we live?
Well, they, along with dozens of other leading educational establishments, use StockLink to help plan, control and review expenditure – as well as plan and nutritionally analyse menus to encourage healthy eating.
StockLink is our recommended software tool to help schools run and manage their catering departments. Whether it’s internally for pupils or externally for visitors and increasingly popular revenue-generating corporate hospitality events, it’s an integral part of our proposition that has established us as one of the country’s most effective, results-led catering consultancies.
As specialists in the independent school sector, our objective is to make a difference to the way our client schools run and operate their catering departments.
Our reputation, built over 15 years, is based upon inspiring and delivering creative change as part of a dynamic solution to ensure our clients have catering operations that combine the best of all worlds with imaginative and nutritious food served in exciting environments while ensuring value for money throughout the process. This process embraces a whole series of specialist skills and a unique understanding of the legislative and pastoral concerns that revolve around prestigious schools with histories dating back several centuries.
Menu development has several key objectives. Food, as we all know from our own domestic circumstances, has to look fresh, colourful and exciting. Obviously, it has to be nutritious too as part of healthy diet while meeting legislative guidelines. The School Food Trust is introducing new nutrient-based food standards into schools. These standards have to be interpreted and implemented in a way that doesn’t detract from the quality and presentation of the food or greatly increase the cost of providing food and drink for the pupils. Value for money and ensuring every pound is well spent is particularly important in the context of rising food costs – a 20% increase over the coming months is a very conservative estimate – and a stagnating economy. Careful scrutiny of prices, stocks and staff time management all influence the balance sheet.
From our perspective, StockLink gives us the control necessary to make a real and impressive difference to client catering departments. By using it to plan meals, organise portion control and monitor production, it offers transparency across all aspects of the catering departments of client schools while easing the administrative workload of catering staff.
In fact, StockLink is such an important part of our offering as a consultancy, we have our own full-time specialist to maximise its impact, especially as it can be tailored to suit the needs of client schools and integrated with other management and accounting systems.”