We sat down with Christina Porter, our Director of Customer Success, to get her insights into the future of food access, and how her team helps our partners provide healthy, culturally relevant meals nationwide.
What do you do at Revolution Foods?
I lead our Customer Success team, and together we are focused on working closely with our partners to understand their needs and build their healthy meal programs. By putting our partners and their students at the center of everything we do, we help them increase food security in their communities, at scale. Throughout the school year, as well as into summer, we’re engaging with partners and gathering direct feedback from students on how they are enjoying their meals. Listening to students is a critical part of our product development process. This allows us to innovate faster than others in our market. As an outcome, partners naturally want to offer more meals to more students, enabling them to significantly grow their overall food service operations.
Why did you choose to work at Revolution Foods?
I was a Customer Success techie from Silicon Valley before joining Revolution Foods and had always admired the company from afar. My daughter completed a brief internship here in 2008, which is when I first learned students could receive fresh and healthy lunches instead of the greasy food options that we grew up eating. Fast forward to early 2021 when food insecurity had risen dramatically due to the pandemic. I read a story about a 3rd grader in New Jersey who showed up to her virtual classroom crying, unable to learn. There was no food in her house, and she was literally starving. As one of our partners told me: “students who don’t eat, don’t learn.” Unfortunately, her school was not a Revolution Foods partner and her heartbreaking story inspired me to pivot from high tech startups to fight food insecurity. I am grateful that Revolution Foods chose me and I can be a part of the solution.
What makes working with partners at Revolution Foods different from other food service vendors?
We are undoubtedly operating in the most challenging education environment of modern times. Partners have to navigate complex and often changing federal/state guidelines. They ask questions like: Which waivers can I use? How can I launch breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner and still be reimbursed at the maximum allowable rate? How can I feed my entire community, not just enrolled students? Our dedicated Customer Success Managers (CSMs) help our Partners be successful with their food service programs throughout the entire lifetime of our relationship. Because we deeply understand Partners’ needs and are experts in our field, we are a Partner’s “Easy” button to launch a new meal service. CSMs bring best practices to the table via monthly business reviews and value delivery engagement with school staff and parents. Most importantly, we listen to students’ voices through our survey program called “Project CRAVE”. Student feedback is a critical part of our service-oriented DNA that puts students first no matter what. No other food service provider has a dedicated Customer Success Team like Revolution Foods.
What are your thoughts on the future of food access?
I believe that every student should have access to school meals. Here’s why. There’s a crucial role that school meals play in building equity. Equity in the education experience is a massive need facing every school in every city across the country. School meals are one solution to help close prominent, long-standing opportunity gaps that have kept specific student populations from an equitable experience. Universal school meals are the first large-scale approach to bridge this gap. California was the first state to permanently adopt free school meals. Maine joined shortly thereafter. I envision the remaining 48 states will invest in universal meals to give children access to the nutrition they need to achieve their full potential.
How can Revolution Foods help communities across the country ensure they feed as many people as possible?
Right now, schools need all the help they can get feeding their students. Supply chain issues are disrupting classrooms everywhere. Every day there’s a new story about a school whose food servers didn’t return to school. Teachers who are frantically buying greasy pizza at the last minute because their meal delivery drivers didn’t show up. Suppliers who have run out of hot dog buns. You name it and it’s happening daily. Because we’re the only clean label supply chain company of our kind, we’re not seeing these issues at the same scale. Revolution Foods needs to hang an “OPEN” sign on our front door to let the nation know that communities can rely on us to feed them.