Editorial- Lack of small business representation in PISD cafeterias can be remedied


Dana Garcia

A Rock Hill High School cafeteria photo shows students’ permanent food line choices. “Many small business owners have the chance to join Rock Hill High School in their cafeteria to show students the food that they make,” staff reporter Dana Garcia said. “There are options that may be possible for this to happen.”

Entering the cafeteria on an empty and hungry stomach is something every student embarks on daily. The glowing signs above each line and the smell of the different cuisines entice students to make their lunch choice; however, these options never change. Students see the same food choices every day for four years while in high school. 

Prosper Independent School District, PISD, depends on the financial support of large corporations in school cafeterias. The food services sector may include Sonic, Chick-fill-A, Pizza Hut and Aramark. In addition to these options, Rock Hill High School should help small businesses serve in the cafeteria. 

Taking on small, local companies faces significant challenges, but there are solutions. For example, many small business owners have the chance to join Rock Hill High School in their cafeteria to show students the food that they make. Some options may be possible to take place for this to happen. 

Small businesses are rarely seen in school cafeterias because they are not equipped to make food for hundreds of students at such a high rate as opposed to the cafeteria workers. However, small businesses could have a rotating schedule at RHHS to serve once or twice a week, allowing them to be featured without being overwhelmed. Likewise, while the restaurants are at RHHS, students should be able to pre-order their food from a link provided by the small businesses on the school website. This would help the small restaurant pre-make the food a couple of hours before students arrive during lunch and request the food themselves. 

Having small company owners in Rock Hill would be less stressful than finding people wanting to work for a school but more for a company. Furthermore, Prosper wouldn’t have to worry about the preparedness of those they are hiring since the establishment would control their employees. If this occurs, all food decisions and employee responsibility would be taken off of PISD. 

New restaurants in the cafeteria would also provide different food cultures, encouraging food diversity. Additionally, the businesses may provide information to the students on why they serve certain foods at the school. For example, while Aramark does make fresh food every day, they do not change their options for students in the cafeteria. 

As new restaurants open in the cafeteria, Rock Hill High School would need to help with financial costs in the first few weeks. A contract to regulate commission, set food capacity and order load will create a partnership between the school and business. If terms are not met, the school may end the provided service. 

One way that PISD and Rock Hill are currently involving small businesses is allowing the opportunity for food trucks, like Honeylu’s Coffee, to come on campus for teachers and staff. But, there are more ways that PISD can give attention to small business owners in the community. 

Small businesses and local companies would provide student learning collaborations for business entrepreneurship students. For example, owners and operators could work with students in both business courses and the culinary department to learn the process of running a food-industry service. 

In addition, small businesses working with and within schools can further bring in revenue for the kitchen. The company will need to pay rent for a spot in the cafeteria and the surplus funds collected will go into kitchen maintenance and supplies. Nonprofit organizations like Hugs Cafe could also provide a fundraising opportunity for our school.

Small business institutions in PISD schools can be a significant financial and operational undertaking. Still, understanding how the district can support the local community and vice versa, the results would be equally beneficial. 

More information about schools supporting small businesses and information from Chief Financial Officer of Prosper ISD, Dr. Kyle Penn and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Greg Bradley can be found in, One bite at a time- Reporter observes fixes to be made for small restaurant support in PISD.

Though it is up to PISD to include small restaurants in the school, the impact this program could have once implemented would change PISD’s relationship with the community around it for the better.