FAQs

We’ve listed our most commonly asked questions here. If your question isn’t answered, please give us a call.

Why choose Pasta King?

We’re well known for being the market leader and that’s for good reason. Pasta King can really help with the challenge of school catering, meeting the needs of children and catering staff alike.

First, there’s our food. A fantastic range of sauces covering everything from traditional favourites to exciting new tastes, all carefully sourced to ensure great taste and all meeting exacting nutritional standards. Special dietary needs are well covered too. Our sauces come with a superb Italian pasta that holds its shape (or premium basmati rice). We also supply pasta bars in a range of shapes and sizes to make it easy to prepare and serve, and to act as an extra serving point. In fact we supply just about everything you’ll need, including utensils, posters and point of sale material, to make life simpler, all free on loan to our regular customers.

Then, there’s our expertise. We are specialists in education catering. Our food is all carefully balanced to meet the nutrition and budget requirements of schools. The Pasta King customer service team are talking to school caterers every day. They know all the challenges that school catering teams have to cope with, and they’re always willing to help where they can. For ideas and tips, look here.

Why do I need a brand? Isn’t it cheaper to make my own sauce?

Good question. It’s true that anything you make in house will seem cheaper than a bought-in version. But there are a couple of reasons why this could be a false economy at the pasta bar.

The point of a reliable, trusted brand like Pasta King is that everyone knows exactly what to expect and it never lets them down. Serving our food means satisfied customers and no wastage. Pasta King stands for consistently great food that’s the same every time. Research has shown that the Pasta King name gives the children confidence and reassurance: they know that it is consistently tasty and that they won’t have to queue for long to get it. The new look Pasta King is even better, reminding them it is tasty and filling.   For the children, Pasta King stands for tasty, great value every time.

It means good value for catering teams too. A standard pack of Pasta King sauce plus pasta serves thirty good portions, so it’s easy to budget. Time is precious, and there are more profitable ways for the catering team to spend it. We’ve seen this with customers who have experimented with different options. Making their own tray bakes to sell at break time, for example, usually contributes a lot more than they can save by making their own pasta sauce. So if staff time is limited – and whose isn’t – then it’s important to spend it on the things that really add value and make the biggest difference.

What really matters is that as many children as possible are coming in to the servery and getting a good hot meal. This is better for them, and better for the catering budget. Customers tell us that having Pasta King in the servery helps keep their numbers up, which is good for everyone.

How does Pasta King fit with the recommendations of the School Food Plan?

The introduction to the School Food Plan says, “This plan is about good food and happiness. It is about the pleasures of growing, cooking and eating proper food. It is also about improving the academic performance of our children and the health of our nation.” Pasta King food meets these School Food Plan aims with proper nutritious meals that children enjoy eating, quick and easy to serve, and affordable within school budgets. Our most popular sauces have a healthy tomato base, and many have other hidden vegetables too. For more on the nutritional content see here.

The School Food Plan goes on to say, “Eating school dinners is better for children. It is also better for the school’s finances. A half-empty dining hall – like a half-empty restaurant – is certain to lose money. In order for the school food service to break even, average take-up needs to get above 50%. Increasing take-up…requires a cultural change within each school. It means cooking food that is both appetising and nutritious; making the dining hall a welcoming place; keeping queues down; getting the price right; allowing children to eat with their friends; getting them interested in cooking and growing.”

Here, too, Pasta King can help. Our product range and our brand have been developed specially for schools, and tested to make sure they will help bring in more customers. We work with schools to help them increase uptake. We lend equipment free of charge to reduce queues. There are new sauces each month to keep things interesting. Promotional calendars and theme day boxes help create some excitement.

How does Pasta King fit with Food For Life?

ffllogoWe use only farm assured meat that is fully traceable, healthy and free from any nasty additives, so that our food fits with Food for Life.

 

 

My problem is falling numbers – can you help with increasing uptake of school meals?

You’re not alone. It’s a common problem. Shorter lunch time breaks are a challenge, which can result in long queues. A reduced number of service points causes queues too and some customers will simply walk away. On top of that, children may be reluctant to sit down and eat a hot plated meal, preferring to get outside with their friends. Some children come with a negative view of school catering, or are fussy eaters and think they won’t find something they like. So it’s essential to serve really appetising food that meets their exacting standards, and to do it fast.

Both Pasta King food and our serving equipment can help our customers overcome the challenge of falling uptake. Our pasta and sauce range is quick to serve in our grab & go pots, reducing queues. We’ve tested our sauces and their names to make sure children can order with confidence. They’ve told us that seeing the Pasta King name helps them make a quick decision, because they know it won’t let them down.

Many customers use our pasta bars to create an entirely new serving point. The equipment comes in a range of size, counter-top and free-standing, and is lent free of charge.

As well as our ever popular pots meals, Pasta King has now developed other products under the ‘grab & go’ banner including pre-made, hot eat  paninis, wraps,  toasties and pizza and our range of chilled sandwiches. (Not yet available nationally – please ask your Pasta King representative.)

One thing we can be sure of is that by introducing great food from strong brands that children know and trust decreasing meal numbers should be a thing of the past. You don’t have to take our word for it: see what our customers have said.

What have you got for breaktime

We have a range of hand-held bread-based snacks designed for break time. See the range here.

You might also think about putting the pasta bar on at break, especially if your lunch break is short. Our hand-held pot meals are grab & go for the children, and quick and easy to serve, to help you capture the ‘early lunch’ brigade. Some people pot them up in advance with lids, to make it even faster. This will ensure that pupils who visit the dining hall only at break do have the option of a filling, nutritious main meal, which is better for them and helps maximise your break time revenue.