Do you have good school lunch

Student surveys

To find out what students really like, you have to ask students. If the pupils have a say in the subject of school catering, the relationship to both the catering and the school can be improved. Acceptance is the key point of economically viable school catering. Students and teachers can be won over as satisfied customers if they are given the opportunity to express criticism and contribute their own ideas and wishes.

Obtaining opinions creates acceptance

The variety of catering should be based on health awareness and nutritionally important criteria as well as the preferences of the guests. Therefore, an acceptance analysis among students and teachers is very useful. This is the only way you can find out whether and how your offers are being received. Students are also given the opportunity to express wishes and suggestions. This results in a clear picture of opinions and changes can be shaped by the entire school community.

Question after question

The more questions are asked, the more extensive, but also more precise, the evaluation. You can learn what students are missing and what changes you can make. A questionnaire survey can be conducted either throughout the school or in a few classes of each grade level. In this way you can also reach students who normally do not go to the cafeteria.

You can also put small question cards on the tables that the students can fill out after each meal. At the exit you can put the cards in a box. In this way, you can find out whether a dish has been seasoned too strongly or too little, which dishes are popular with older, younger, male and female students, and you may find suggestions, suggestions for improvement or praise. Alternatively, you can also put a post box for feedback from the students (praise and criticism) near the sales or use a guest book for spontaneous entries. These anonymous procedures particularly appeal to students who do not openly seek dialogue with those responsible. Specifying fixed emptying times has proven useful so that everyone can be sure that the feedback can be viewed.

Important: addressing and communication

Use posters, for example, to draw the students' attention to the fact that by filling in the cards and questionnaires they can help decide which dish is cooked more often, which less or not at all. In addition, attention should be drawn to changes in the offer or product range. Even the competition in the vicinity never sleeps and advertises with new means almost every week.

Exemplary collection of questions

Below you will find examples of possible questions from a student survey. It should be noted that individual school catering offers also require individual student questionnaires. Which and how many questions are included in your questionnaires depends on the target group and the time available.

Questions about age or grade level:

  • Age
  • class
  • Lower level
  • Intermediate level
  • Upper school

Ask about gender:

How often do you have breakfast at home in the morning before going to school? (Please only make 1 cross)

  • every day
  • almost every day
  • sometimes
  • Rare
  • never

Would you like to have breakfast at school in the morning?

  • Yes
  • no, I don't have breakfast
  • no, I have breakfast at home
  • maybe

Questions about refreshments during breaks

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I like the offer!     
There is also often something new / something different!     
I especially like the snacks!     
I like the look of the snacks!     
The snacks are healthy!     

Do you have a morning snack during a break? (Please only make 1 cross)

  • Yes, every day
  • yes, almost every day
  • occasionally
  • Rare

Where does your snack come from? (Please tick everything that applies!)

  • I'll take a snack from home.
  • I buy my snacks outside of school (e.g. bakery, kiosk) myself.
  • I buy my snacks at school (e.g. at the kiosk or in the cafeteria).
(Please check!)with pleasurewith pleasuregoes soreluctantlyI don't like it at all
Chocolate / candy     
Yogurt / milk     

Questions about taking part in lunch

Why don't you take part in the school lunch? (Please tick everything that applies)!

  • I do not like it
  • I dont have enough time
  • I have to queue too long
  • At that time it doesn't suit me
  • The cafeteria / canteen is too uncomfortable
  • It's too loud
  • The classmates bother me
  • It's "uncool"
  • The food is too expensive
  • I eat at home
  • different reasons: ...

How often do you attend school lunches?

  • at least 3 times a week
  • 1 to 2 times a week
  • never

What do you think of this statement: "My friends eat in the cafeteria / canteen!" (Please only make 1 cross)

  • true completely
  • Right
  • partly partly
  • That's not true
  • definitely not true

Why do you eat in the school canteen? (Please tick all statements that apply)

  • Because participation in the meal is compulsory.
  • Because it tastes good.
  • Because my parents want it that way.
  • Because I have afternoon classes and need a warm meal.
  • Because my friends go too.
  • Because I don't get anything at home.

Where does your lunch come from if you still have classes in the afternoon? (Please tick everything that applies)

  • I eat at home on my lunch break.
  • I'm bringing something from home.
  • I'll get something from the bakery.
  • I'm going to the nearest supermarket.
  • I eat in the school canteen / school canteen.
  • I'll get something at the school kiosk.
  • I'll get something at the kiosk around the corner.
  • I eat something from the takeaway / fast food restaurant.
  • I order something to school (e.g. a pizza).
  • I (almost) never eat at lunchtime.

Questions about the cafeteria (design, atmosphere, service)

What (school) grade do you give your school canteen? (Please tick: 1 = very good; 6 = unsatisfactory)

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The cafeteria / canteen is very popular     
I like the furnishings in the cafeteria / canteen     
I can relax in the cafeteria / canteen     
I have enough space in the cafeteria / canteen     
It's not too loud in the mesa / canteen     
I think it's good that all grades eat together     

In your opinion, is the cafeteria / canteen more something for…. (Please only make 1 cross)

How do you like the atmosphere of the cafeteria / canteen (feel-good factor)? (Please only make 1 cross)

  • very good
  • Well
  • goes so
  • not so good
  • not at all

My friends find the cafeteria / canteen ... (Please only tick one cross)

  • Great
  • Well
  • neither good nor bad
  • not so good
  • absolutely stupid

Is your cafeteria / canteen popular? (Please only make 1 cross)

  • very popular
  • popular
  • neither popular nor unpopular
  • not particularly popular
  • not popular at all

What do you think of this statement: "I would rather eat elsewhere than in the cafeteria / cafeteria for lunch!" (Please only make 1 cross)

  • Absolutely true
  • Right
  • I do not care
  • That's not true
  • definitely not true
What did you get really annoyed about in the canteen?
What could be improved in your cafeteria / canteen?
(Please check!)12345
... cleanliness of the mansa / canteen     
... friendliness of the kitchen staff     
... waiting time at the food counter     
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I have enough time for lunch     
The amount of food is enough for me     
The food is lovingly prepared     
The kitchen staff always tries to help me     
The period in which I can order my food is okay     
I can determine the type and amount of food myself     
The food is not too expensive     
What do you like best about your cafeteria / canteen?

Questions about the offer / taste / quality of the food

Are there any foods that you are not allowed to / do not want to eat?

Do you think that the students at your school should be more involved in the school lunch (selection, organization)? (Please only make 1 cross)

How do you like the food in the cafeteria / canteen? (Please only make 1 cross)

  • very good
  • Well
  • goes so
  • not so good
  • bad
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There is simply too little variety     
When I come, the food is already overcooked / soft     
The food often looks unsavory     
The food is often cold     
I also have my favorite food in the cafeteria     
There are also activities in the cafeteria     
The food is healthy     
The food gives me power     
The food is too fat     
(Please check!)exactlyRightis not so important to meis not important to me at all
I have to like it    
It has to fill you up    
It has to be healthy    
It has to look nice    
It has to be cheap    
You have to take your time when eating    

Questions about pricing

How much money do you spend a week on snacks and lunch? (Please only make 1 cross!)

  • Up to € 2
  • Up to 5 €
  • Up to € 10
  • Usually nothing

School feedback card and student questionnaire for primary school:

The feedback card student survey for lunch is used to poll your opinion on the current lunch. This can be laminated so that it can be used again and again and rewritten. The student questionnaires for lunch in the school or after-school care center are used to gather opinions over a longer period of time. What is going well with us? What do we need to change? Which topics do we need to take care of more? Do we need help for this (such as the “coaching for daycare and school meals”)? For questions 10, 11 and 12 you can add, for example, mena, dining room or kitchen, depending on the description. The evaluation of the questionnaire, e.g. B. with the help of the evaluation file, the school takes over.

Don't forget after the survey

A survey should not only be conducted for the sake of the survey, it should also produce results. Therefore, after a survey, a precise evaluation is first necessary. These results should be communicated within the school community, e.g. via posters, information boards, homepage or in the school newspaper. In addition, changes should be made if there is an obvious need for improvement and these should also be communicated transparently.

It is also a good idea to repeat surveys after a certain period of time. This makes it possible to monitor success and to check whether changes introduced have led to improvements.


aid (ed.) (2010): Eating and drinking in schools.