The Lunch Lady was founded by Ruthie Burd back in 1993. As a parent, she recognized that there were very few lunch program options for kids in Elementary School, forcing other parents to add "making my child's lunch" to their already busy and full schedules. Since Ruthie had children of her own and needed to start a business that allowed her to stay involved in their lives on a daily basis, the Lunch Lady idea was born.
According to Director of Franchise Development, Nancy Criconet, franchisees work while their children are at school. If school is closed because of a holiday, or it's the weekend or summer vacation, the franchisee can have this time available for family and leisure. The Lunch Lady's scheduling allows parents to be available when their kids are off from school.
Currently, the Lunch Lady has already-established franchises in areas such as Peterborough, Etobicoke and Guelph Ontario for sale, along with a number of available territories in British Colombia, Alberta, New Brunswick and other major areas in Canada. Qualified franchisees, according to Nancy Criconet, will have some form of management experience and good skills in customer service as well as promoting their business, and working in a team environment.
Kylie Centis and Lori Volpatti, two franchisees in the Langley and Pitt Meadows/ Maple Ridge area, recently shared some of their experiences. Both Lori and Kylie's children are adults now, but when they started as Lunch Lady franchisees, their children's ages ranged from eleven to sixteen. Being part of the Lunch Lady franchise allowed them to be there for their children outside of school hours and during activities while running their own business.
According to Lori, her and Kylie's work day begins with customer assistance. Both answer questions and help customers with orders through email or over the telephone. Customer contact is maintained throughout the day to ensure the customers are satisfied and to keep a connection. Both set aside time each day to market and promote the business. Both oversee kitchen preparation to ensure quality standards are being met at all times.
Another franchisee, Tammy Mann in Surrey, spoke about her experiences as a franchisee for the Lunch Lady. Tammy has two daughters under the age of 12 and joined with Lunch Lady because her daily commute to her old job ate up most of her time. She would get home at six in the evening after leaving early in the morning, limiting her time with her family.
According to Tammy, her day begins at around six in the morning. She catches up on email and takes care of her children and then drops them off at school. She's in the kitchen by 9 am to help her team cook food and go out on deliveries, allowing her to interact with all the children she's feeding. Once she's done, she returns to the kitchen to complete her paperwork and the team begins prep for the next day's deliveries. Tammy says she's usually done in time to pick her children up from school and she's fortunate to be able to attend her children's after-school activities and have dinner with them each night.