Invest Your COVID Relief and Impact Your Cafeteria

Kneeland Wright, Sales Representative


School decision makers do not often find themselves in a position with a budget surplus, but this is the current situation for many schools thanks to pandemic relief funding.

With the upcoming deadlines to spend this money, many schools are looking for meaningful ways to invest in the education experience for students, faculty and staff. There are several valuable ways that funding can be used to achieve this, and schools across the country have found one of them to be upgrading their cafeterias.

Student Experience

Enhancing your cafeteria does more than just bring in new furniture and decorations, it allows you to create a space that encourages student participation and engagement. Though traditional cafeterias are highly functional, we have found that offering students different seating styles and creating more of a restaurant feel with the design achieves that same usability and elevates the experience within the space.

A student from a high school that used its relief funding to redo the cafeteria commented on how the project impacted them, saying, “I love this cafeteria. It’s so different than what it used to be, and it makes me want to eat breakfast and lunch here more often.”

Much of this excitement comes from input given by the students themselves. Palmer Hamilton encourages schools to involve student representatives in focus groups during the design process, giving them a voice in how their community and their peers are represented. This can include activities, slogans, design motifs, table layouts and other aspects of the final elevated space.

Return on Investment

Because food service is generally one of the only options schools have to generate income, school districts that renovate cafeterias are investing in a source of revenue.

After working with Palmer Hamilton, a high school in Georgia saw participation increase by 12% every month compared to the previous year, and a school in Florida achieved a full return on its investment into a full cafeteria redo within just 75 days from increased participation. These schools and others like them continue to see more returns from higher student participation during meals, giving them the resources for more projects to continue enhancing a student’s experience in nutrition and beyond.

Future Impact

Without the consistent room in the budget to update the look of your cafeteria, getting it right the first time is important. Palmer Hamilton prides itself on durability with both the design and craftsmanship of its products.

Palmer Hamilton designers are intentional with how they choose design motifs. While each project should have a modern look, the designers try to avoid imagery and themes that are overly trendy. Sticking with a more timeless look allows schools to continue enjoying the space for years to come without it falling out of style.

Investing in higher quality furniture also diminishes or even eliminates the frequency of costly and inconvenient replacements. Palmer Hamilton projects from years ago still look brand new thanks to the workmanship on the products themselves. This level of quality can also be applied to mobile or flexible furniture solutions, allowing schools to reposition, reconfigure or even remove furniture for safe, efficient traffic flow and multiple layouts within a single space.

There may not be many opportunities for schools to invest in themselves like this, so talk to a Palmer Hamilton representative today to take advantage of extra funding and do more with your space™.