The Abbey Group

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We understand the difficult decision that lies ahead for you. Often, it’s not easy to relinquish control of your cafeteria to an outside party. We understand it’s not ideal, and we understand why it must be done. Your mission, as a school, is to ensure your students are getting the best education. Food service can be expensive, and your money may be better spent elsewhere. We understand, and we want to help. That’s where The Abbey Group comes in. Our mission is to make sure your students are getting a nutritious and delicious meal every day without draining your budget.

Many of our competitors can offer you the basics of a good food service program, but we go beyond that. We can give you the topnotch service you would expect from a large food service company while keeping true to our values. At the Abbey Group, we’re family. From top down, every employee matters. That’s why we do all that we can to hire your current cafeteria staff. Owners David and Sherry Underwood’s door is always open for employees to share their innovative ideas or to pop in just to say hi.

We hope you’ll join our family.


  • Do we still control the meal program?

    Yes! The school district always remains in complete control of the food service program — with some government regulation. The Abbey Group manages the program under the school district’s authority. The district can always have the final say.

  • How much does it cost? Are there any hidden fees?

    The government regulates food service management company profits, and regulations are clearly stated in the budget. The Abbey Group charges an administrative and management fee that is clearly stated in the schedule of income provided in the proposal. Districts are free to keep and reinvest any income beyond our expenses and fees back into the meal program. If the Abbey Group requires a subsidy, we will clearly state that in the proposal. Regardless of how the program fares financially, the district is liable only for the subsidy amount — never any more. In this case, zero subsidy is required. That makes food service budgeting tidy for school district budgets. There are no hidden fees or unexpected financial obligations ever!

  • Can the district still access the accounting and reporting of the program?

    The district always remains in control of the program and has complete access to all account financial and reporting data. We send business managers monthly documents , including month end reports, claim reimbursements, invoices, and all supporting documents to back up invoices. We pride ourselves on our reporting and accounting transparency.

  • What about state paperwork and program audits?

    Even though the districts retain control of their food service programs,we do what we can to make their job easier . Our trained professionals handle all on-site program audits and assist with administrative audits. We will be there for you every step of the way through these events.

  • What happens to the current cafeteria employees?

    The Abbey Group always looks to hire the current staff as our own. It is in our best interest to utilize the current staff as their experience and familiarity with facility, staff, and students make the transition period much easier and keeps the program running smoothly.

  • Do we have a say on what’s on the menu?

    The Abbey Group is constantly developing our menus to fit the ever-changing needs and local tastes of students. We meet quarterly with the district-appointed food service advisory committees at each school to discuss the food service program and meals served. All input is considered from students, staff, parents, and administration — as long as it fits within USDA guidelines.

  • Will our students be hungry?

    When the Healthy, Hunger Free Act was enacted in 2010, many media outlets ran stories of students going hungry after lunch. The Abbey Group has worked hard to provide as much food as possible to students while remaining within the caloric guidelines set by the USDA. Every day, we provide unlimited fruits and vegetables and hot soup with every lunch served.

  • Who controls the price of lunch?

    The price of a meal remains the responsibility of the school district. The Abbey Group cannot change the price of a meal without the prior approval of the district. A high student participation is key to a healthy program, so it is in our best interest to keep the price of meals down.

  • What will you be feeding our students?

    The Abbey Group strictly follows portion sizes, food quality and nutrition standards set by the USDA for the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast programs. We utilize special technology, internal controls, and audits to ensure our adherence to these requirements. Additionally, the USDA mandates external program audits to reaffirm our efforts.

  • Are students going to like it?

    We are in the business of selling food to students, so it’s in our best interest to prepare meals that students want to eat. Students are not required to eat school lunch, so we must compete against brown bags and in some cases, local food establishments. We market reimbursable meals as the best choice for students because they are nutritionally balanced and favorable for creating a successful program.

  • Are parents going to like it?

    All of the items we serve meet and exceed nutritional and caloric guidelines for students. The Abbey Group has been at the forefront of local and nutritional food. In 2010, the Abbey Group won a national award for our long-term dedication to using whole wheat in our programs. All meals are prepared on site, many from scratch. We utilize a lot of local products and develop local farmer relationships to incorporate into our programs. Students have unlimited access to fruits and vegetables as a part of our programs. Many traditional dishes are enhanced with vegetables in unexpected ways. We promote educational opportunities in our programs with classroom/cafeteria tie-ins and specialty monthly taste tests. All of our menu nutritional information is available upon request. We also provide alternative meal options for students with allergies.

  • This sounds great, why doesn’t every school district have the Abbey Group?

    That’s a great question!  Let us do what we do best so your district can get back to what it does best—educating students!

    At the Abbey Group, we love what we do. We pride ourselves on our flexibility and ability to incorporate the local institutional culture to create a custom dining experience at all of our locations. Our heavy emphasis on customer service and a ‘can do’ attitude keep our services abreast with current market and food trends.

At the Abbey Group, we love what we do. We pride ourselves on our flexibility and ability to incorporate the local institutional culture to create a custom dining experience at all of our locations. Our heavy emphasis on customer service and a ‘can do’ attitude keep our services abreast with current market and food trends. But most of all, we’re The Family That Feeds Your Family.