Smarter Lunchrooms Makeover: Before and After


12.23.13 After completing a CFPA-sponsored training in "Smarter Lunchrooms" techniques, LAUSD's East Valley High School was able to cut their cafeteria line wait time in half, giving students more time to eat within the lunch period.

CFPA has been partnering with Cornell University's B.E.N. Center to offer Smarter Lunchrooms behavioral economics training to school districts within LA County, with support from LA County Department of Health.

After LAUSD food services staff attended an afternoon workshop on Smarter Lunchrooms, CFPA and Cornell B.E.N. Center staff followed up with site visits to selected school cafeterias to put these behavioral economics strategies to the test.  East Valley High School, located in the North Hollywood area of Los Angeles, was one of the schools targeted for follow-up due to having a high percentage of free and reduced-priced eligible students and low student participation in the School Lunch Program.

Before the Smarter Lunchrooms redesign, a major issue at lunch time was that the students were not getting through the lunch lines quickly enough to give them enough time to eat during the lunch period.   The lunch line did not flow well, with sharp turns and unused beverage coolers piled to the side.

During the site visit, Cornell B.E.N. and CFPA worked with the site staff to put the Smart Lunchrooms theories into practice. Beltways were strategically placed to improve line flow, beverage coolers were relocated side-by-side, and stainless steel food tables were moved on the side of the beverage cooler.  The Food Service Manager was also encouraged to decorate the cafeteria with menu and entrée signs to create a warm cafeteria environment.

Before : Unused Beverage Coolers Piled to the Side of the Cafeteria                                                                                                                                                                                  

Smarter Lunchrooms EVHS- Before

After: Beverage Coolers Placed Together for Better Flow

Smarter Lunchrooms EVHS- After

CFPA followed up with East Valley HS two months later to assess the changes to the cafeteria environment.  The cafeteria had new signage and was brightened with holiday décor. The Food Service Manager stated that the easy, low or no-cost environmental changes resulted in increased student uptake of fruit and a large decrease in the time it took to serve all students lunch. They now were able to serve all students in the first 15 minutes of lunch- half of the 30 minutes it took before these changes were made.

Follow-Up Visit: Signage and Decorations Added, Line Flow Improved

Smarter Lunchrooms EVHA- After Follow Up Visit


Learn more about East Valley High School's Smarter Lunchrooms Makeover. link

For more information, please contact Jeannie Wakamatsu at 213-482-8200 X207 or at

The Smarter Lunchrooms makeover was made possible by funding from the Department of Health and Human Services through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.