Administrator - Entering Cycle Menus into the Base Menus Module Best Practices

Creating cycle menus is something menu planners are very used to. Building them in a menu planning software might be something they aren't or aren't as familiar with. This article is intended to provide best practice tips to menu planners for using CNCentral to build cycle menus efficiently and with as little of duplication of efforts as possible. Take it from us! We've done this a time or two! 

  • Start by creating a Base Menu in the Base Menus module for each meal session, grade group and each week of your cycle. For example, if you have an elementary breakfast and lunch menu, a middle breakfast and lunch menu, and a high school breakfast and lunch menu and your cycle is a 4 week cycle, you should create 24 Base Menus. (4 elementary breakfast menus, 4 middle breakfast menus, 4 high school breakfast menus, 4 elementary lunch menus, 4 middle lunch menus, and 4 high school lunch menus).
    • Name your Base Menus something consistent such as MASTER Week 1 Elementary Lunch Menu, MASTER Week 1 Middle Lunch Menu, etc.
    • Select the appropriate meal session, grade range, and operating days then click the Create button to create the base menu and enter the base menu worksheet
  • Next, add static menu items (items you serve the same of every day of the week) such as milks and fruit juices to Monday of each of the menu worksheets. Then use blue plus sign > Copy & Paste Items option to copy Monday's menu into the remainder of the week (Tuesday through Friday).
    • Hint: When using the Copy & Paste Items button, you can only copy a days menu into one other day at a time so you'll have to repeat this process for each day you're copying into
  • Add the remaining items and recipes to each day of the week. Make sure to enter planned servings of each item and recipe according to what you think is the closest guess of how many students will take each of the offered items.
    • For example, if you feed 1000 students a day for lunch and you offer 2 entrees, you'll want the total of both entrees to equal 1000.
    • For side items and milks, make a best guess as to the distribution of these items. Site managers can adjust planned numbers as necessary since they know best what to expect their student population to take. 
  • Create building groups if you have more than 3 schools in each of the grade groups. This way you can use one function to copy a menu into all buildings in the group. Similarly, if you serve the same breakfast menu to all grade groups, create a building group that has all of your buildings grouped together so you can copy a menu into all buildings in a building group with a single function. For information on creating building groups, speak to an inTEAM Consultant and they can set them up for you. 
  • Copy your Base Menus into the appropriate Menu Calendar weeks 
    • By default, the name of the menu on the menu calendar will be the whatever you named the base menu in the base menus module. You can change if desired from the Menu Calendar
  • Site managers will adjust the side item and entree planned numbers on the copied menu so that it reflects their planning 
    • Menu planners can have a pre-set total feeding figure entered for each building in the district so when the menu is copied into the respective building, the feeding figure for the building (by meal session) will get applied and the amounts of each side item and recipe will get scaled according to the buildings default feeding figure. 
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