Quest Food Service, September 10, 2021 Update and Q & A

  • Quest has been providing food service for Warren Township High School for the past several years.  This year, Quest continues to be the food service provider, but we have a new food service program.  Warren Township High School is participating in a federally-funded meal program for the 2021-22 school year that provides free meals for our students.  With this program comes new nutritional requirements, portion sizes, cooking methods, and ingredients for the food service program as dictated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s requirements for these programs.  These changes are, in some cases, substantial as compared to the menu options available in the pre-COVID era.  We want to thank you for providing us with feedback and giving us an opportunity to work through the challenges with our Quest team. We, at Quest, would like to share some of the immediate actions we are taking and some changes we are making moving forward to ensure we are living up to our Quest food standards. 

    • Quest is reducing the quantity of food cooked and increasing the frequency of cooking. This will prevent cooked food from sitting and losing its quality over the course of multiple lunch periods.   
    • At the start of the school year, Quest prepared and wrapped entrees such as burritos, burgers, and other items prior to lunch. We have now shifted to made-to-order. This shift has been well-received by the students.  The quality is much better and the students are able to move through the lines quickly.  
    • The Regional Culinary Director and other members of the Quest culinary team worked with the school team to correct recipe adherence issues and instill consistency. 
    • Quest will display entrée plates at the made-to-order stations so students can see the products available. We are increasing the number of a la carte items for sale, as they become available from distributors. We have experienced several supply chain challenges, but our teams are working tirelessly to overcome them by finding alternative options. 

    Quest takes food service and quality control very seriously and we are working with tremendous urgency to ensure quality is top-notch. We sincerely appreciate your support and partnership through this and we are committed to getting the program up to our very high standards.

Q & A About our Food Service

  • Why is the food different this year?

    Posted by:

    Warren Township High School is participating in a federally-funded meal program for the 2021-22 school year that provides free meals for our students.  With this program comes new nutritional requirements, portion sizes, cooking methods, and ingredients for the food service program as dictated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s requirements for these programs.  These changes are, in some cases, substantial as compared to the menu options available in the pre-COVID era.

    Comments (-1)
  • How long does this program last?

    Posted by:

    This program will last through the end of the 2021-22 school year.  Next year (2022-23), we expect to be back on our “normal” food service program.

    Comments (-1)
  • What does it cost the students?

    Posted by:

    Under this program, all meals are free to students.  A la carte options are still available to students.

    Comments (-1)
  • How much does it save the average student annually?

    Posted by:

    Assuming a student spends around $5.00 per day on a meal, this program could save a student nearly $1,000/year.

    Comments (-1)
  • Does this program cost the taxpayers?

    Posted by:

    This program is federally-funded; local property and sales tax dollars do not fund this program.

    Comments (-1)
  • Is it free for lunch only?

    Posted by:

    We are offering both free lunches and breakfasts for students.  Breakfasts can be picked up at the coffee bar at Almond and in the cafeteria at O’Plaine.

    Comments (-1)
  • Is there a breakfast option?

    Posted by:

    Yes, breakfasts can be picked up at the coffee bar at Almond and in the cafeteria at O’Plaine to be consumed at school.

    Comments (-1)
  • Are the meals fresh?

    Posted by:

    YES!  The Quest team is cooking meals fresh daily in our kitchens, as they always do.  The Quest team is still acclimating to some of the new program standards and COVID safety protocols with all students back in school, and they are making improvements every day. Quest still follows its Food Philosophy (https://www.questfms.com/our-menus-1) and Animal Welfare and Sustainability Standards (https://www.questfms.com/animal-welfare-and-sustainability) for every item served at WTHS, and is producing food fresh each day in our kitchens.   

    Comments (-1)
  • Why are there so many fruits and vegetables?

    Posted by:

    The United States Department of Agriculture dictates food portions, ingredient specifications, and “meal patterns” – i.e. what items must be offered with each meal – with the program we are on this year.  Quest and WTHS must follow those guidelines in order to be able to offer this program.  Part of the USDA requirements include a robust offering of fruits and vegetables with each meal served.

    Comments (-1)
  • Why do the French fries taste different?

    Posted by:

    The United States Department of Agriculture does not allow any food to be fried in this program.  As such, french fries must be baked.  This is a new requirement for the WTHS food service team, and one we continue to experiment with to provide a better experience for WTHS students.  We believe the change from thick cut fries to tater tots, for example, made in very early September, has been very well-received by our student community.

    Comments (-1)
  • Why does the pizza taste different?

    Posted by:

    The United States Department of Agriculture requires that the WTHS program offer whole grains for every grain product served.  We have thus moved to a new pizza crust and pasta, which do have a different flavor profile.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can the district do a shared table?

    Posted by:

    Perhaps!  This is normally something we could offer, but we are working through COVID protocols for this idea and others regarding donations.  We will be offering a shared table soon; however, we are still working with the Health Department to be able to offer this in a COVID-friendly manner.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can you bring a lunch from home?

    Posted by:

    Of course!  Students may still bring a lunch from home, and could still purchase a la carte options or even get a free meal if they are still hungry. The free meals are not required, they are an option for every student, every day.

    Comments (-1)
  • Are there still a la carte options?

    Posted by:

    Absolutely!  Quest is still offering a variety of a la carte options, including chips, muffins, cookies, and bottled beverages (low calorie beverages) to name a few.  Please be aware that we need to follow the USDA Smart Snack guidelines.

    Comments (-1)
  • What is Quest doing about the quality of the food?

    Posted by:

    Quest takes any concerns about food quality VERY seriously.  Quest has sent its culinary experts and operational leadership to WTHS for additional oversight and support of the WTHS program, and will have onsite program support until Quest gets this right.

    We started the year with packaged entrees (that were produced in-house) to get students through the line quicker.  We are going back to Made-to-Order Grill, Pasta and Mexican stations as we feel we can get students through the line with enough time to eat.  This will improve the quality of the food and allows for students to choose the ingredients in their entree.  We will bring back the Made-to-Order Deli as well.

    Quest also began chargrilling (versus baking) a variety of proteins for a better flavor profile, switched potato products for lunch to meet the baked, not fried, requirement under this program, and is providing a host of training support to the WTHS food service team.

    Comments (-1)
  • When did this program start?

    Posted by:

    First day of school, August 17, 2021

    Comments (-1)
  • When will this program end?

    Posted by:

    Last day of school in May 2022

    Comments (-1)