Canteen Proposal Need/Desire for a canteen

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Canteen Proposal

Need/Desire for a canteen

In order to determine the desire for a canteen, a number of opinions have been sort and a survey of the parent community has also been undertaken. The survey received 188 respondents out of a parent community of 400. Although there has not been any negative comments about the lack of a canteen by the parent community to the school, the students have noted to the school council they would like a canteen and the survey results were generally very supportive of having a canteen operate at least part of the week. The survey results are included as Attachment 4.


If the school was to operate a canteen there are three main ways to structure the canteen:

  1. Volunteers only (School or P&C operated). This option has not been assessed as part of this proposal. As a large portion of the school has working parents (as evidenced by OOSH usage) who would be unable to volunteer. Past experience as well as other research (such as Birchgrove experience and information available from Healthy Kids Association) also suggests that this option may be difficult to operate successfully

  1. Volunteers with Paid Canteen Manager (School or P&C operated)



  • Quality control

  • Control over menu

  • Someone responsible for day to day operation

  • Not relying solely on volunteers

  • If canteen makes profit, goes to school

  • Volunteers are only needed to prepare and distribute food, not for all the administrative work as well

  • Lead time to develop policy and procedures

  • Need to ensure canteen makes enough money to cover a wage

  • Still quite reliant on volunteers

  • Need to educate people about the need for volunteers even though have a paid employee

  • Food wastage issues if only open 2 days

  • Set up costs (utensils, containers etc)

  • Financial risk if makes a loss

  • Management of an employee – sick and annual leave cover, replacement and potential gaps in service if manager leaves.

The next steps for this option are:

  • Develop Canteen Policy

  • Determine hours of operation

  • Develop menu

  • Develop procedures (ordering, timelines, portion controls, volunteers)

  • Determine financial record keeping methods

  • Marketing considerations

  • Employ Manager (job description, advertise,interview)

  1. Licensee

This would transfer the risk of operating the canteen to the operator of the canteen. They would pay rent or a license fee to the School. As the school ‘owns’ the property, any contract with a third party needs to be via the school, not P&C and therefore we would need to go through the tender process for this option.

In investigating this option we contacted The School Canteen as they provide a canteen service to nine other inner west schools. They currently operate from Kegworth, Ashbury and Dobroyd Public Schools (ie pay rent) and deliver and distribute for the other six.



  • No financial reporting burden on P&C

  • No financial risk (ie if canteen makes a loss)

  • Known source of income (from rent)

  • Still have some control over menu

  • Don’t need to organise volunteers

  • Principal maintains control over all aspects of the licence agreement

  • Able to choose an applicant experienced in operating canteens or a food business

  • Paperwork

  • Time frame for approval from Dept of Education (8+ weeks)

  • Potential to lose out on profit if turns out to be successful

  • Potentially won’t be accepted into the school community

The next steps for this option are:

  • Request Education Department – Schools Finance approval for tender process

  • Prepare Canteen Licence Agreement and Package for prospective applicants (can charge an application fee)

  • Advertise

  • Assessment of applications

  • Send successful applicant details to Schools Finance for approval

  • Sign Canteen Licence Agreement

Issues_to_be_considered_in_selecting_a_structure'>Issues to be considered in selecting a structure

Issues Raised

There were a number of issues raised in the canteen survey, the P&C and School Council. Each of these can be mitigated by either structure chosen to operate the canteen.



Canteen available for fundraising activities eg sushi days once a week/fortnight/month

85.5% of survey respondents indicated they would use a canteen between 1-5 times week. So a 2 day per week canteen would allow for other activities still to occur

Children having money at school

Limit orders to on-line or bag orders only ie children will not be able to purchase food over the counter

Children late for class/lining up all of their break time

As above

Creation of excess of rubbish

The School Canteen only use biodegradable and recyclable packaging. This will be a non-negotiable requirement for all applicants as part of the tender process.

The same packaging would be sourced for Canteen Manager Option, however would increase costs substantially.

*See below for discussion on rubbish


  • The school uses Remondis for the removal of rubbish. The school has a general waste and mixed recycling bins.

  • As lunch is eaten predominantly in the classroom a small mixed recycling bin would need to be available in each room. A small number of larger recycling bins would also be placed in the playground.

  • The Green Team could be enlisted to help spread the message regarding the correct usage of the bins.

  • Canteen Committee will need to engage further expertise and advice from Remondis in relation to costs and optimal collection solutions.

As a result we believe a two day a week canteen providing lunch and recess orders with on-line ordering would be the best way to proceed.

Financial considerations

On the basis of a two day a week canteen option, the following sets out as estimate of the financial impact of each structure.

Volunteers with Paid Canteen Manager (School or P&C operated)

  • The cost of employing a canteen manager on a permanent part-time basis two and a half days per week is approximately $20,000 including all associated on-costs.

  • Attachment A provides a very high level analysis of the levels of orders required to breakeven as well as some sensitivity analysis over a number of different order levels over 40 weeks of operating. The table below summarises the results of this analysis.

The analysis shows to breakeven the canteen would need to receive 120 lunch and 52 recess orders over the two days per week at an average cost of $6 per lunch order and $3 per recess order. Attachment 3 includes the Term 4, 2013 menu and pricing from The School Canteen which supports these average assumptions. These prices were also the averages indicated by parents in the canteen survey. In terms of number of orders the previous canteen operator, Cafe Rozella, was receiving an average of 60 orders on a Thursday and 120 orders on a Friday, so it is not unreasonable to achieve these levels.

On predicted levels the canteen could make a small surplus of $13.5k, however if levels are lower there is little ability to offset the income shortfall and thus the P&C would need to underwrite the canteen for any potential loss being no more than $20k.


The School Canteen currently pays rent of $1,100 per quarter to Dobroyd Point Public School which has approximately 300 children for a five day a week canteen. The pro-rata fee for a two day a week operation would be $1760 per year, which could assist in covering the cost of any additional waste and recycling costs and/or on-line ordering set up and administration costs.

On-line ordering

On-line ordering allows parents/carers to submit orders at any time up to 8:30am on the day of the orders being placed with most providers.

There will be costs to parents of operating an on-line ordering system. Two providers of on-line ordering systems have been contacted in regards to provision of on-line ordering – Schools 24 and Flexischools. The flexi-school model keeps the monies in trust but as a result charges the school a 3% transaction fee, while School 24 appears to potentially involve more administration on the part of the school in administering funds but no on-going transaction fees are charged. The table below sets out the charges that have been advised by each provider.

Under a licensee arrangement – it is likely that the tenderer will have a preferred online supplier that integrates with their other operations.


From the discussion at the P&C in November there does not appear to be an appetite to take risk in operating a canteen. However there is clearly a portion of the school community who is interested in having a canteen. We also acknowledge that any structure entered into will create more work both in administering and managing a canteen and it associated issues for all of the staff.

After consideration of the issues raised and discussions both at the P&C and School Council, the following proposal is put forward for consideration of the P&C and the School in regards to the operation of a canteen at Rozelle Public School. The canteen should be:

  • Open 2 days per week

  • Online ordering with a solution for the 30 families without internet access TBD

  • Recess and lunch orders only

  • A trial may not be possible as a provider may not want to invest the time and money associated in building the profile of the canteen only to have to withdraw or be subject to a full tender. Therefore a one year contract with option to extend may be a better option with operation commencing in Term 2, 2014.

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