New Cafeteria Food


Cam Wade, Staff Writer

Feeding the masses takes efficiency. Large quantities of food have to be prepared quickly and cost effectively. Sometimes the quality of the food is sacrificed for this efficiency, hence the reputations of cafeterias in prisons, hospitals and yes . . . schools. This stigma is hard to escape. Adam Sandler even wrote a song about it entitled “Lunch Lady Land,” which stereotypes certain aspects of the school cafeteria experience such as “Yesterday’s meatloaf is today’s sloppy Joes.”

Alliance Public Schools is working hard to change that narrative. Unfortunately, for many students throughout the district, school breakfasts and lunches may be the only options for quality meals throughout the day. Knowing this was the case, APS offered free carryout meals for all students in the spring of 2020, when the school was forced to shut down due to COVID-19. These meals were offered throughout the summer as well.

Those that have eaten breakfast or hot lunch in the early months of the 2021-2022 school year, may have noticed other changes as well. APS has a new food service provider this year called Lunchtime Solutions, based in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. According to the Lunchtime Solutions website, the company professionally manages the food service operations for schools throughout the Midwest. Launched in 1997, the locations served by Lunchtime have grown quickly based on the fresh, healthy and contemporary quality of the food service experience provided to students, faculty and staff, along with the professional food service management services provided to the schools administration.

Lunchtime Solutions says it prides itself on using locally sourced and grown food. The company even offers the Schoolyard Garden Program, which provides financial assistance and support for school gardens. The foods grown in these gardens are integrated within the school’s meal programs. 

The company offers several healthy choices including entrees as well as fruit and vegetable bars that may be revisited as many times as a student wishes.

I really like the way Lunchtime Solutions tries to keep things “fresh,” said Amy Shane a school superintendent in Nebraska, “Not only the foods that they serve but the new ideas that they implement each year.”

An example of the many choices offered comes from a recent lunch menu at Alliance High School, Entrees included a hot pepperoni sub, fresh turkey sub, fajita salad with tortilla chips, the pizza station with two types of pizza, and even a “Test Your Senses” donut cheeseburger. Vegetables included crinkle cut fries with a premium topping bar as well as the fruit and veggie bar. Drink offerings were 1% milk or chocolate skim milk.

As with all things new, there have been some hiccups. In a letter to parents and students from Katie Miller of Lunchtime Solutions, Miller addressed issues in the supply chain that the restaurant industry is experiencing, largely due to the pandemic.

“As you may have heard, the restaurant supply chain is still suffering delays and shortages across the country,” she said. We are part of the same distribution system and apologize in advance if a posted menu item is not available. As we work with our distributors, we are doing our very best to navigate through these challenges. We will always have a replacement item and do everything we can to ensure our students have plenty of options to choose from.”

For students or parents wishing to view the school menu, visit There is a dropdown menu to choose the appropriate school (Early Childhood, Emerson Elementary, Grandview Elementary, Alliance Middle School and Alliance High School) and meal (breakfast or lunch).

Overall, it appears that Lunchtime Solutions has had a positive impact on the student dining experience at APS . . . or as Adam Sandler would say, “Everyone is doing fine down here in  . . . Lunch Lady Land.”