Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
ISSN (Print): 2333-1119 ISSN (Online): 2333-1240 Website: Editor-in-chief: Prabhat Kumar Mandal
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Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2019, 7(3), 237-243
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-7-3-9
Open AccessArticle

Operational Efficiency of School-Based vs. Community-Based Summer Food Service Programs

Jeremy E. Whaley1, , Kiwon Lee2 and Rochelle A. Butler3

1Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States of America

2Hospitality Management, Kent State University, Kent, United States of America

3OIT Research Computing Support ITR III, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, United States of America

Pub. Date: March 21, 2019

Cite this paper:
Jeremy E. Whaley, Kiwon Lee and Rochelle A. Butler. Operational Efficiency of School-Based vs. Community-Based Summer Food Service Programs. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2019; 7(3):237-243. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-7-3-9


The purpose of this study was to assess costs and sales (i.e., operational efficiency) associated with two summer food service programs (SFSPs): a local school district operated one program, and a community organization, with the assistance of a state-administered food bank, operated the other program. The researchers proposed possible solutions to operational inefficiency based on a case study approach to study the costs (i.e., food, labor, and administrative expenses) and sales of these two programs. They utilized the participants’ observations and source documents in phase one followed by gathering focus groups, composed of key stakeholders, in phase two. The results showed four major themes concerned each site’s respective SFSP: cost management, program barriers, program management, and atmospherics. To address the overarching concerns with the community-based program operating metrics, the researchers asked if the utilization of non-violent, work-release inmates and food trucks reduced costs or increased sales, or both. Child nutrition professionals can utilize the results of this study to increase operational efficiency in their SFSPs. The implications support the need for additional funding for each program and for training and development in the areas of food system operational management for the community-based program and creative marketing to reach more children in the summer months.

food cost labor cost administrative cost summer food service program (SFSP) qualitative study

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