How to encourage parents to volunteer in your school canteen

In Australian schools, parent involvement plays a crucial role in creating a thriving educational environment.

While parental engagement is often associated with activities like parent-teacher meetings and reading in the classroom, one area where their contribution can have a significant impact is the school canteen.

Here are four advantages of having parents regularly volunteer in your canteen:

1.     Provides valuable support

Regular parent volunteers can significantly contribute to the smooth operation of your canteen. With their help, tasks such as food preparation, serving, and clean-up can be efficiently managed, reducing the burden on staff. This allows your canteen to serve students promptly and maintain an organised environment.


2.     Builds a sense of community

When parents roll up their sleeves and lend a helping hand, they become an integral part of the school community. By working in the canteen, they develop relationships with other parents, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie. This helps create a positive and inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels connected and valued.


3.     Increases menu variety

Parent volunteers bring a diverse range of culinary skills, cultural influences, and dietary preferences to the canteen. Encouraging their involvement in the canteen allows for the introduction of new and exciting menu items. Parents can share their favourite recipes or cultural dishes, providing students with a broader selection of nutritious and culturally diverse options.


4.     Can generate additional revenue

Parent volunteers can assist in expanding the canteen's services, such as organising special events or introducing fundraising initiatives. These contributions can lead to increased revenue, which can be reinvested in improving the canteen facilities, expanding the menu options, or supporting other school programs.


Here are five ways you can encourage canteen participation:

1. Establish clear communication channels

Regularly share updates, menu changes, and volunteer opportunities through various school channels such as newsletters, websites, and social media platforms. If your school uses Flexischools for online ordering, you can send an instant message to parents via our free communications feature. Encourage feedback, suggestions, and ideas from parents to foster a collaborative environment.


2. Showcase the Impact

Sometimes, seeing is believing. Share success stories, testimonials, and photos of parents actively participating and contributing to the school community. This visual evidence can inspire and motivate other parents to join in.


3. Be flexible

Offer a range of volunteering opportunities to accommodate different schedules and commitments. Allow parents to choose from options such as regular shifts, occasional volunteering, or specific event assistance. Flexibility will make it easier for parents to participate and contribute their skills and time.


4. Provide training  

Offer training sessions or workshops for parent volunteers to familiarise them with food handling and safety protocols. Provide ongoing support and guidance, allowing parents to enhance their skills and feel confident in their roles.


5. Appreciate and recognise contributions  

Show gratitude through thank-you notes, certificates, or even hosting appreciation events. Acknowledging their efforts can encourage ongoing involvement by fostering a sense of pride and ownership in the canteen. 

Trusted by over 1,600 schools, Flexischools is Australia’s leading online canteen and uniform ordering app for schools. Find out more about Flexischools at


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