Wayzata Public Schools

Wayzata Cafés is National Leader in School Nutrition

Wayzata Cafés is National Leader in School Nutrition


All across the country, school nutrition programs are facing enormous challenges. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close in March 2020, these essential programs were heavily impacted and they are still dealing with staffing shortages, supply chain disruptions, and overall financial sustainability. Despite these on-going challenges, a recent program review shows that Wayzata Cafés, which serves nearly 9,000 students meals each day, stands out as a national leader in the field of school nutrition. 

In 2022, Wayzata Public Schools commissioned ProTeam Foodservice Advisors, LLC (ProTeam) to conduct an extensive program evaluation for the district’s nutrition program. ProTeam is a foodservice consulting company providing services to school districts and foodservice operations throughout the country. Jean Ronnei, senior consultant for ProTeam led the review and recently presented its findings to the Wayzata School Board. According to the report, Wayzata Cafés is making steady progress towards its goals for financial stability, student satisfaction, purchasing food and supplies, and moving toward more scratch and speed-scratch cooking. 

As part of this review, ProTeam collected data from comparable districts in the metro area, interviewed Wayzata Cafés Director, Michelle Sagedahl, and reviewed the program’s menus and finances. According to Ronnei, “Wayzata Cafés stood out as having a strong and clear vision that drives their decisions. Based on their menu philosophy and what we see in Wayzata Public Schools, Michelle and her team are leaders in the country,” Ronnei added. 

The review included a number of examples of the innovative program changes and problem-solving strategies initiated by the Wayzata Cafés team including: 

  • Wayzata Cafés is in the unique position of having ample storage space for food items or supplies and paper goods. As supply chain disruptions continue, they are able to buy in larger quantities from different distributors and store them for future use.

  • Wayzata Cafés has received a $185,000 Farm-to-School Grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that will be used to purchase locally grown food for all the district’s school sites. These funds will help Wayzata Cafés in its goal of serving more food made from scratch with whole ingredients in school kitchens, with an emphasis on using local vegetables, fruits, meats and grains. 

  • Like other metro districts, staffing continues to be a challenge. Wayzata Cafés is always looking for people who are interested in working in our schools.  Available positions are included on the district’s website

  • Students have a choice whether to participate in the district’s food program and in Wayzata Public Schools, participation is high. The report attributes this to Wayzata Cafés’ good food, service, atmosphere, and the perceived value.

Here are just a few of the ways that Wayzata Cafés staff are working on program expansion:

  • Considering the expansion of some of the district’s satellite kitchens. 

  • Finding ways to increase school breakfast participation. 

  • Continue to focus on sourcing whole, nutritious, and minimally processed food.

  • Increase student participation by encouraging student feedback and input through taste-testing and other “fun” and interactive activities.

The Wayzata Cafés program evaluation report was presented to the School Board at its work session on February 27, 2023.