Return to Headlines

New Food Service Provider to Retain All Employees, Invest $1 Million

SFE LogoThe District 60 Board of Education entered into a one-year agreement with Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE) for preparation and distribution of school meals to all District students.

The contract begins on July 1, 2021 and is slated to run for one year, at which time it will be reviewed for potential renewal. There are four renewal options available, subject to funding appropriation and approval by the District and the Colorado Department of Education.

Southwest Foodservice Excellence will retain all current D60 Foodworks staff and recognize the AFSCME union while committing $1 million to the District’s aging food preparation infrastructure.

Prior to the board’s vote on the contract, Bob Lawson, Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Management, reminded members of the challenges associated with the current Nutrition Services operation, including loss of the leadership team, capital asset needs, staffing and recruitment concerns, and financial and state reporting issues.

The contract with SFE resulted from a lengthy Request for Proposal process which saw four firms submit proposals. Per the company’s proposal, meals will migrate to “scratch cooking,” with the addition of smoked and barbecue-style entrees, rather than reheated, prepared convenience-type meals. Hand pressed Burger Patties

“SFE will seek student input in menu decisions and will offer students the ability to order meals online or through Smartphones for pickup,” Mr. Lawson said. 

There will, Mr. Lawson continued, be no loss of union jobs, with SFE retaining the current wages and hours while offering employees a benefits package.

“Additionally, SFE will offer expanded employee training – above what they currently receive – which was highly desired by Nutrition staff,” Mr. Lawson said. 

Continuing, Mr. Lawson explained that SFE will work with area farmers, purchasing food items and products in order to keep dollars within the local economy. 

The company also guarantees $1 million in revenue surplus, which will allow the District to address capital asset needs (kitchens, equipment, etc.) without the use of additional funds.

The contract, Mr. Lawson concluded, will have no adverse or negative impact on the District’s Free and Reduced Meals, with SFE pledging to continue to support the various community nutrition programs currently in place.

In light of the loss of the Nutrition Services leadership team, SFE plans to bring in a 5-person management team, led by a resident District Manager. Additionally, the District will benefit from the company’s Regional resources (nutritionists, chefs, etc.)

Mike Reese, Vice President of SFE, said his company’s objective is to “serve students great food and increase participation, driving more dollars back to the school District. That’s the core of what we do.”