Pascagoula-Gautier School District

Pascagoula-Gautier School District Expands Student Lunch Options with Heated Merchandisers

Pascagoula-Gautier School District serves more than 9,500 meals per day at 18 schools sites with its full system of Alto-Shaam commercial foodservice equipment.


Pascagoula-Gautier School District has grown and evolved their child nutrition program throughout the years. However, one thing has remained constant.

“Throughout our 18 school sites, we have had a lot of older equipment that needed replacement,” said Sarah Busby, the District’s director of child nutrition. “I began to notice that our four older Alto-Shaam warmers were still fully working from 2000. I thought, ‘Okay, it’s 2019, and I’ve never had a work order on these units. I think I’m going to keep buying Alto-Shaam.’”

Today, the Mississippi-based school district still uses their Alto-Shaam heated holding cabinets, featuring Halo Heat® technology. They also expanded their system to include Combitherm® ovens and Heated Shelf Merchandisers.

“Our favorite combi is Alto-Shaam,” Busby said. “It replaced our fryers back when updated nutrition guidelines were released in 2010.”

For Busby and her staff, the Combitherm’s performance is second-to-none. She views it as the kitchen workhorse that allows their 120-person team serve more than 9,500 meals per day—adding up to 1.7 million meals per year.  

“The combination of steam and convection really makes a great, crispy product.” Busby said. “Any product that we would normally fry, we can produce it better and healthier in our Alto-Shaam combi. You can truly cook anything in it.”

As a registered dietitian, Busby’s number one concern is food safety.

“At the end of the day, parents drop their kids off knowing that you will serve them food at the right temperature,” Busby said.

She chose Alto-Shaam’s Heated Shelf Merchandisers for their high school foodservice program, because they were the best solution for maintaining safe holding temperatures at the highest quality.

“As much as you train employees to take temperatures, if you have a warmer that isn’t holding it properly, then your staff can’t do much.” Busby said. “So, for me, I really sat down to research how we can make sure food is at the right temperature, and that was Alto-Shaam’s HSMs.”

With the complete system, the District is able to offer options for ranging taste preferences, as well as dietary and allergy requirements.

“Most high schools have 3 or 4 menu choices,” Busby said. “We have 16 options. Whatever they feel like for the day, we probably have it. That’s where the merchandisers come in.”

The complete system has not only helped the District offer the highest quality food, it has also been pivotal in streamlining their speed of service.

“Our schedule is everything,” Busby said. “We have been able to reduce wait time in lines and give students more time to eat because our equipment is reliable and able to keep up with demand.” 

Highest Quality Service and Support

Training is a key ingredient for Pascagoula-Gautier School District. With support from Alto-Shaam and its manufacturer’s representative Marketing Agents South, Busby said training is never a worry.

“They really spoil us when it comes to programming new recipes and teaching our kitchen staff,” Busby said. “The chefs come in and provide a full hands-on demonstration. It’s a system of support that not every school district is lucky to have, if they use other equipment.”

To learn more about Alto-Shaam’s full line of equipment designed for K-12 foodservice programs, register for our upcoming K-12 webinar at 11 a.m. CDT on May 25.

Register Now
Request A Quote