On my top ten list of things to replace on my school lunch menu is our burgers. Of course, it’s hard to replace the thaw-and-serve version – it’s inexpensive, easy to prepare, and kids generally like it.
Last spring, I heard that a nearby school district is serving antibiotic and hormone-free burgers traceable to local farms. I was very much intrigued. It turns out the food service director works with a local fast food chain, b.good, which brings their burgers to her schools.
Breaking the stereotypes about fast food, b.good is one of many fast food restaurants that aim to serve quality food at a reasonable price point. (Let’s see, there’s also Chipotle, Ugrill, and my very own establishment, Bon Me Truck. More about this trend, and shameless self-promotion about my food truck to come in a future post.) When I went to my neighborhood b.good earlier this school year, I had a buffalo burger and roasted cauliflower. Not your typical fast-food grub, right? While B.good serves food, fast (in under 5 minutes) it isn’t the scary, over-processed foods people typically associate with fast food. The buns are made with whole grains. The meat in locally-sourced, and they’re transparent about their process.
B.good came to my school back in November. It was wildly popular. Because my school has an all-you-can-eat-policy, some students took full advantage of this (five burgers, yikes!).
How doe it work? B.good comes by truck stocked with burgers, a grill, and staff to cook and fully assemble the burgers for lunch. My staff didn’t need to prepare a main meal that day.
What b.good is doing with schools is an interesting approach to providing quality burgers, a school lunch staple, to schools. My kitchen can’t handle making burgers from scratch at this moment, so it was a nice treat for everyone at my school. However, the cost of b.good burgers is astronomical compared to the cost of serving burgers thaw-and-serve. Not only is my school paying for better quality raw ingredients but we’re outsourcing the labor involved in producing a main meal even as we already have staff set up to do that work.
Some public schools in Boston work with b.good good regularly. They make it work by charging a little more for the meal, and other lunch options often get a boost in sales, like drinks, when serving such a meal. At my school, where lunch is all-you-can-eat, I generally can’t reconcile the huge additional cost to the budget.