Canteen Advice & FAQ

Simple ways to add some sparkle to your canteen

A change is as good as a holiday they say. So if your canteen is starting to look a bit worse for wear, here are some simple suggestions to help add some newness to your canteen:

  • A new name for your canteen flags a new approach to the canteen. The name doesn’t have to be terribly flamboyant. Simple names often work better – for instance, Carrum Downs Secondary College call their canteen “CD Cafe”.
  • Simple tactics like incorporating the school name, address or suburb into specials on offer (e.g. Box Hill Burger, Station Street Salad Tub).
  • Fun words work a treat. Use some fun words for products, e.g. Funky Chicken Roll (think like an advertising guru and let your imagination run wild).
  • Reconsider how you wrap and present product – brown paper can be very boring! Sandwich triangles and clear poly bags display the product or try a roll or wrap – cut in half to display the tasty fillings and wrapped in greaseproof paper, sealed with an appropriate sticker.
  • Market your menu e.g. photograph beautifully presented wraps & rolls with a student (seek permission from parents first) and enlarge these photos. These photos not only decorate the canteen but they work a treat at promoting the item. Seek help from a parent who may be willing and able to Photoshop and enhance the pictures. Think like Donna Hay!
  • Look at the presentation of your canteen as if you were the customer. This sounds obvious, but we often forget to do this.
  • Does your food look appetising and appealing?
  • Is your product faced up – i.e. is food placed at the front of the display, orderly, without big gaps? Half-empty shelves or displays make the food look old and less appetising.
  • Students think like you. Look at your display counter as if you’re opening the fridge door looking for a snack – it’s the food that looks the best that grabs your attention. Brown cardboard boxes are just plain unattractive.
  • A fun and effective way to draw attention to key food items is to tuck a novelty item in with the display to attract the attention of the students. A silly spider or obvious toy mouse, which changes location occasionally, makes the customer notice items for sale. (We have to say, please don’t use anything that is (1) a health hazard or (2) looks too much like the real thing!)


Who do I contact if I'd like my menu reviewed?

Simply contact your ASCA Area Manager or phone the ASCA helpdesk on 1800 219 556. Your Area Manager will come to your school and discuss your canteen’s menu with you, at a time convenient to you, and make recommendations on how to improve your profitability and increase the appeal of your menu.

I have issues with my delivery day. What can I do?

It is best to speak to the representative for the relevant supplier first. If you can`t get a satisfactory answer from them, speak to your ASCA Area Manager, or call the ASCA helpdesk and we will liaise with the supplier.

I have seen a really great product that I think other schools would like. How can this company become an ASCA approved supplier?

It is best to email ASCA about the product you have seen or phone 1800 219 556. It is important to note that most products are divided into particular categories e.g. Frozen Chilled & Dry, Ice Cream, Milk & Dairy, etc., and ASCA has negotiated an approved supplier for each category. We will review the product and check that it is not available through an existing supplier or that it does not compete with another product from an existing ASCA supplier. If this is not the case, we will contact the supplier about becoming an ASCA supplier.

How do I tell if a food product meets the guidelines?

It is best to check with your state’s guidelines - see State Guidelines for Canteens.

How can I find out more about pay rates for canteen managers?

See the section on Canteen Staff and Volunteers.