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Moffat's remarkable new servery facility helps Cardinal Wiseman School return to traditional catering - serving 1,400 meals in 45 minutes

E & R Moffat has been key to providing a new high-speed counter and servery system at Cardinal Wiseman School in West London, one of the UK's most prestigious Roman Catholic schools.

The counters, which now serve up to 1,400 pupils and staff in a single lunch hour, were built by Moffat and feature a smart bespoke design and a state of the art cashless payment system.

In April 2008 Jacqueline Parks was appointed Head of Hospitality at Cardinal Wiseman School. Jacqueline was given an opportunity to take a completely fresh approach to the culture of eating at the school. With Cardinal Wiseman increasingly taking a 'holistic' approach to education, where a child's entire lifestyle is considered to influence his or her education, lunch is now a crucial part of the school day, and not simply a 'refuelling stop.'

The new facilities have helped to overturn more than a decade of conventional wisdom about cost sector catering, returning the school from several years of 'outsourcing' to a fully in-house catering system. Out has gone most of the menu of pre-cooked, pre-prepared food. In has come fresh cooking - with almost everything prepared in the school's kitchens, and many of the ingredients coming from the school's own kitchen gardens, with some students taking a role in both growing and preparing food.

Echoing the high-street trend for healthy and fresh mixed fruit drinks, there is also a dedicated 'smoothie' bar - possibly the very first in a UK school - together with a new biometric cashless payment system at up to four pay stations, speeding throughput during lunch.

The old facilities simply weren't up to it, Jacqueline Parks recalls. "We wanted all food to be prepared and cooked at the school, and we wanted to be able to feed everyone. The emphasis had be on healthy eating, but it couldn't be at the expense of serving speed - all 1,400 pupils and staff had to have the chance to eat in the new facility in a single lunch hour. This was impossible with the old servery system - so fresh design thinking was essential."

John Nelson of Nelson Catering Equipment, the primary catering contractor, said that when it came to selecting the manufacturer of the custom-designed servery area and smoothie bar, Moffat was a natural choice.

"I wanted to enlist the most experienced servery contractor we could find," he said. "I chose Moffat as the best people to realise our ideas, help us design the servery area and build it to our specifications," he adds.

Carefully studying the new menu proposals, the likely flow of food from the kitchen and children and staff into the servery counters, Moffat positioned, designed and built all equipment to maximise speed of service, locating the smoothie bar separately to ensure faster preparation and service of these increasingly popular drinks.

The new facilities are a long way away from what Jacqueline was faced with when she arrived in April 2008. The L-shaped bespoke servery and countering looks stunning, and includes ambient, heated dry and bain marie wells mounted over hot cupboards, a dedicated refrigerated blown-air inset coldwell section and a refrigerated merchandiser.

The four pay stations include the new biometric cashless system - working by thumbprint - that allows parents to pay for their children's meals online via the ParentPay scheme. This further speeds throughput, avoiding or minimising delays (especially those caused by children claiming to have lost cards or money, a frequent problem in school catering!)

The result is remarkable - a facility that can serve the entire school of over 1,400 children and staff in only 45 minutes, without sacrificing the ethos that Jacqueline brought to the school in 2008.

"It's the start of a new culinary era for us", says Jacqueline. "We are raising the profile of school meals at the school - not only as a food and beverage service, but also to encourage children to consider catering as a career choice."

"I want our students to have meals that meet their needs and help them to make healthy choices that will stay with them for life. And we are creating a quality food and beverage service that is sustainable."

E & R Moffat is one of the UK's leading manufacturers of quality foodservice equipment, designing and manufacturing in-house. Based in Bonnybridge, Scotland, the company manufactures standard and bespoke servery, regeneration and storage equipment with a full nationwide after-sales engineering team. E & R Moffat is accredited to ISO 9001:2000 and many of the products have gas approvals and are EMC tested. For more information on E & R Moffat visit the website on

Posted on Thu 25th Jun 2009