Cycle Menu Best Practices

Updated as of 10/2021

Cycle menus are a series of menus planned for a particular period of time, such as 4 weeks. The menu varies for each day of the cycle. Having cycle menus is a best practice for operators as they:

  • Save time in planning HHFKA compliant menus
  • Enable pre-costing of menus
  • Improve forecasting accuracy of weekly food orders
  • Streamline inventory control
  • Stabilize employee work schedules
  • Simplify recognition of a “reimbursable meal” at POS
  • Permit tracking key metrics to create a set of “Successful Menu Combinations”

Best practices for cycle menus are: 

  • Shorter cycles - 2 to 5 weeks
  • Offer more daily choices to appeal to student preferences and achieve dietary specification requirements
  • Repeat popular food items during the cycle – i.e., pizza on Friday
  • Cycle length may vary between grade groups and be different for breakfast and lunch
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