Canteen Support

Council helps P&C-managed school canteens with resources, advice, and referrals to other helpful organisations.
Plus, we connect P&C-run canteens so you can share ideas & expertise.

If you have a question about running your canteen which isn't covered below, please contact us.

Topics on this page:

Running your canteen - getting the admin and business-side organised
Your staff/volunteers
The menu
Promoting your canteen and foods
Food safety including food allergies
Learning from other ACT canteens - network, sharing expertise.

Running your canteen


Running a canteen is a major undertaking for your P&C. Luckily there is help available with the business and administrative side of things:

  • The ACT Canteen Business Essentials manual is a comprehensive guide to running your canteen. It will step your P&C through everything from regulations you need to comply with to information on finances, staffing, purchasing and putting together a healthy menu! Has loads of useful templates and sample documents, spreadsheets, surveys and more to.
  • Council's Canteen Information Sheet
  • FAQ on Canteen Deeds between P&Cs running canteens and the Education Directorate
  • Sample Terms of Reference for your canteen sub-committee
  • The Healthy Kids Association (HKA) provides extensive, authoritative support and advice for canteens (there is a membership fee)
  • Internet access for your canteen should be provided by the school. Please contact us if you need assistance to get connected.

See also our article on reducing waste from your canteen.

Alternatives to P&C running the canteen - If your school would like to have a food service but the P&C does not wish to run it, there are a number of options which the school can pursue. These include using an external canteen provider, an onsite business, a hub service from another school or a local food business (see this report on the features and challenges of the different models). Schools interested in exploring non-P&C providers should contact  EDU Strategic Procurement.

Your staff/volunteers

The menu

Menu ideas and advice
  • Food provided by canteens must comply with the Education Directorate's Food and Drink Policy, which refers to the National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines.
  • Nutrition Australia's Nutrition Support Service offers a menu review and advice service to help you comply with the Policy. You can contact one of their dieticians for answers to your food and menu questions on 6162 2583 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also follow them on Facebook for tips and useful information.
  • ACT Health have a fabulous Go For Green guide and a short interactive online course which explains the Traffic Light System. The guide and course step you through the process of working out if your recipes are Green or Amber and how to improve them, and includes an extensive list of ingredients and their classification.
  • Healthy recipes from Nutrition Australia
  • HKA have healthy recipes with matching professional food pictures (for your newsletter or menu) and videos on how to make them look great.
  • Special lunches: menu ideas for special lunch days that are manageable for your canteen, raise extra funds And are healthy!
  • The National Allergy Strategy has free online food allergy training for staff and volunteers working in schools. FOCis have information on Allergies and Anaphylaxis.
  • Make your menu look more professional with the menu template and matching promotional items below.
  • See also this article about Boosting the flavour in Green items.

Promoting your canteen



Marketing guide!

All the information and tips canteen managers need to  promote the canteen's food and drink (and boost sales!) is in a this guide - Marketing food at school: use the 5Ps.


Fabulous posters to print and display at your canteen. Each healthy message and image has been tested with students so we know they are understood and have a real impact on students choices! They come from a project with ACT Health and others in response to canteen feedback that many students were still preferring less-healthy options. Six different posters:


Food safety

AAA Schools Home Page

  • Nutrition Australia run training courses a couple of times a year, qualifying canteen managers as nationally recognised Food Safety Supervisors
  • ACT Health Protection Service have this useful Factsheet on food safety for schools and one for school canteens
  • The National Allergy Strategy has free online food allergy training for staff and volunteers working in schools. The 1-1.5hour course will help you understand more about food allergies and how to keep kids safe and covers managing allergies, communication tools, reading labels, and avoiding cross contamination of food allergens when preparing and serving food.

Learning from others