Updated as of 10/2021
This guide lists documents to pull together, as well as steps to take that will make the process of using CNCentral as your menu planning, production and forecasting tool as fast and easy as possible.
Please note that this article does NOT include the steps and documents needed to begin using CNCentral as an inventory tool. This information is covered in a different article.
1 - Gather the pieces
- Cycle menus. Note - Creating a 4-5 week cycle menu, even if seasonal changes occur a cycle helps streamline menu planning and procurement.
- Item order lists, bid sheets, item data lists from distributor(s) including prime distributor, dairy, produce, bakery, etc. This report obtained from each vendor/distributor typically has item information including nutrition, serving size, CN Crediting, allergen flags, net weight, and most importantly GTIN's for each item. At minimum, you'll need a Vendor Item Name to include in the Vendor Item Upload spreadsheet and the GDSN or Generic search will look for a match based on that name.
- Order tablets to use with the Daily Wrap Up App. The device must use the Android operating system. Approved devices include:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T350
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T385
2 - Populate Item Database
- A Vendor Item Upload of all ordered items into the District Item Database is completed. Additional items to be added to the District Item database can be done so by:
- Search for GTIN's using the (+) button and choosing "Search". If the item is in GDSN's database it will show up in the results and can be added to the District Item Database.
- If an item is not pulled up with a GDSN or Generic search, the item will need to be entered manually. Instructions to do this are in the eLearning tutorials as well as here on ZenDesk.
- Review the Item Setup Summary and correct any inventory or procurement flags
- This is a best practice and ensures the most accurate forecasting but it not a mandatory step when not using the Inventory Module in CNCentral
- Update CN Crediting for any item that did not pull in CN Crediting information upon import.
3 - Create Recipes
- Using Items from the Item Database and from Generic sources, create all recipes that are currently being used in menus.
- The tool will scale the quantities of ingredients necessary when planned numbers are updated for a recipe on any given day. For example, if you have a sheet of enchiladas that usually serves 100, enter your recipe as such. When your planned number for a day is updated in CNCentral, the recipe in the menu for that day will scale the number of ingredients necessary to prepare only the quantity you need.
4 - Create Cycle Menus
- Enter base menus in the Base Menus module for each week and grade range.
- Think of a consistent naming scheme:
- High School Master Menu Week 1, High School Master Menu Week 2, and so on...
- Lunch Master Menu Week 1, Week 2, Week 3...
- Breakfast Master Menu Week 1, Week 2, Week 3...
- Add static items to a menu first (milk, juices, cereals, assorted fruits, assorted vegetables, entree items that are offered as alternatives every day, etc...). Then, copy out that menu to the other base menus to save time.
- Add all unique daily items and recipes to the menus after static items are added.
5 - Copy Menus to the Menu Calendar
- Following the school year calendar, begin to assign Base Menus to the appropriate weeks in the Menu Calendar of the appropriate schools for the various meal sessions.
- Building or copy groups may be created to save time when copying out cycle weeks. If a menu is used in all elementary schools, for instance, creating an elementary building group allows a user to copy menus to the whole group instead of each school one-by-one. Building groups are configured in CNCentral Legacy system by an inTEAM consultant.
- Examples of building groups:
- All Schools Breakfast
- Elementary Lunch or Breakfast
- Middle School Lunch or Breakfast
- High School Lunch or Breakfast
- Copy menus out for only a few weeks at a time (one or two months in the future).
6 - Run Your Forecast for Accurate Ordering
- Use filters to set the report to capture the data you need in your forecast
- Print forecast to provide to your Vendor as an order guide for the timeframe selected