Friday, 28 March 2014

Catering Infrastructure Solutions for Universal Infant Free School Meals

At the moment, I’m receiving lots of enquiries from schools needing help with getting their kitchen facilities ready to meet the requirements of the School Food Plan and Universal Infant Free School Meals in September. 

The two main obstacles they’re up against tend to be time and funding, which are the areas in which our solutions can really help some schools. We offer a number of flexible procurement options on all our school facilities, including capital purchase, contract rental and lease. This enables schools with limited funding to help spread the cost and avoid the need for up-front capital expenditure. Our school solutions can also be installed and ready to use within a matter of weeks, keeping the whole process straightforward and stress-free.

Here’s a brief outline of our key options for schools wanting to prepare for September:


Many of my clients found the cost of kitchen building works prohibitive, and approached us looking for a solution better suited to their funding availability. Our KitchenPods are permanent modular kitchen buildings, but offer the ability to be moved and relocated if the school’s needs change over time. This capability offers another advantage in that unlike a traditional building, KitchenPods are also able to be offered on a rental or lease basis. For schools unable to fund an up-front capital purchase, these monthly payment options can be much easier for schools to manage, and can help make it easier for the caterers or other stakeholders to contribute to the payments (an increasingly popular way of funding new facilities!).

PKL KitchenPods are modular kitchens which are built and kitted out off-site in as little as 6 weeks from order, then installed in a matter of days. These are a very flexible solution with a number of sizes available, ranging from single units to large open-plan spaces. KitchenPods also offer a huge range of exterior finishes, enabling them to complement existing buildings on site. Schools often opt to have our KitchenPods installed on a weekend or during school holidays, to completely avoid any disruption on site.

KitchenFM for Schools

For schools who have a kitchen but have outdated or inadequate catering equipment, KitchenFM for Schools, which we developed with support from the Children’s Food Trust, is an ideal solution. For a fixed monthly fee, PKL will supply all the catering equipment and maintain it, with engineers only a phone call away. This is therefore a completely hassle-free option, and we can even buy back your existing equipment to include in the plan, and swap different equipment in and out if your menu or school meal take-up changes.

I know that many schools will not have the capital in place to purchase all new catering equipment, so KitchenFM for Schools is an excellent solution – contract rental of the catering estate means there is no up-front capital needed, and the responsibility for maintaining and looking after the equipment remains with PKL, so there will never be any nasty financial surprises!

Temporary Kitchens

PKL temporary kitchens can offer high quality
interim kitchen facilities to schools who need more time!

I know that some schools would prefer to see exactly how their school meal take-up is affected by the changes in September, before deciding on the best course of action for their kitchen facilities. Other schools have opted for extensive building works which won’t be ready in time for September or will disrupt existing kitchen facilities while they’re taking place. For schools in these types of situation who require interim catering facilities, PKL temporary kitchens are an ideal solution.

As the UK’s leading supplier of temporary kitchens, we are able to hire a whole range of kitchen facilities to meet your exact requirements and buy you time to get your permanent kitchen in place. With hires able to last from a few weeks to several years, temporary kitchens provide an easy and flexible option.

Further Information

If you’d like more information on any of these options, or if you’d like to discuss your school’s requirements with us, please visit or give us a ring and ask to speak to a member of the Permanent Kitchens Team (myself, Ian or Ed).

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