For more than 10 years, SAGE Dining Services has provided high quality, uniquely crafted dining experiences at The Dunham School. During that time,SAGE’s vast menu options have ensured that students, faculty, staff have had access to meals that cater to their individual needs, and service shave expanded to include breakfast options, a revitalized Tiger Bytes café, and a pop-up station that serves Mediterranean cuisine.
In anticipation of school reopening this past August,SAGE partnered with the Dunham administration to rethink daily operations in light of strict COVID-19 safety guidelines. Modifications included increased cleaning and sanitation, revised traffic flow, staggered lunch times, new seating areas, and the adoption of a “Grab and Go” style that included hot and cold entrées, vegetarian options, and healthy side items.
While getting the dining hall prepared was no easy task, obtaining the menu items as well as the utensils, boxes, and water bottles needed for each meal proved equally challenging. Because of worker shortages across the country, many of SAGE’s vendors had a difficult time delivering these items in a timely manner.
As a result of the team’s advance planning and diligence, however, Dunham became the first SAGE day school location in the state to reopen in August. Their revised lunch protocols then become a model adopted by other school across the country looking to resume dining services.
When the initial planning began, Food Services Director Lauren Guy and her team knew they had an interesting uphill battle to face.
“The COVID-19guidelines challenged us to continue to offer the same high-quality food with as many options as possible,” she says. “Transitioning to a ‘Grab and Go’ style posed unique difficulties, too, especially with additional dining hall capacity limitations. We responded by paring the menu down from 30 different daily offerings to fewer than 20, most of which we now serve in combo form. Dunham's kitchen design is not necessarily conducive to the ‘Grab and Go’ style of service, so adapting to our new needs was one of the largest obstacles. We addressed our changing needs by converting coolers and freezers from their original uses and setting up temporary prep stations every morning.”
SAGE’s stellar work serving lunch to 800-plus each day in the midst of the pandemic has not not gone unnoticed by students, faculty, and staff. “I would like to give a huge shoutout to the SAGE team. They have exceeded expectations and have worked so hard these past few weeks,” says Upper Schoolteacher Elisa Major.
Thank you to Lauren Guy and the SAGE Dining team!