How to Start to Building Your Cycle Menus in CNCentral

Creating cycle menus is something menu planners are very used to. Building them in a menu planning software might be something they aren't or aren't as familiar with. This article is intended to provide best practice tips to menu planners for using CNCentral to build cycle menus efficiently and with as little of duplication of efforts as possible. Take it from us! We've done this a time or two! 

  • Start by creating a Master Menu for each meal session and each week of your cycle. For example, if you have an elementary breakfast and lunch menu, middle breakfast and lunch menu, and high school breakfast and lunch menu and your cycle is a 4 week cycle, you should create menu frameworks for 24 menus total. (4 elementary breakfast menus, 4 middle breakfast menus, 4 high school breakfast menus, 4 elementary lunch menus, 4 middle lunch menus, and 4 high school lunch menus).
    • Name your master menus something consistent such as MASTER Week 1 Elementary Lunch Menu, MASTER Week 1 Middle Lunch Menu, etc.
    • Enter a total feeding figure of 100 for your MASTER menus. You can change this default feeding figure when you copy this menu into the correct week. 
    • Assign the week for the menu to a non-operational week such as the first week in July. This will differentiate the MASTER menu from menus that you actually use for production.
  • Next, add items you serve the same of every day of the week such as milks and fruit juices to Monday of each of the menus. Then copy Monday's menu into the remainder of the week (Tuesday through Friday).
  • Add the remaining items and recipes to each day of the week. (Note: Your menus may not be in nutritional compliance at this point if you haven't scaled the planned numbers and total feeding figure. Your daily and weekly component requirements should be in compliance)
  • Create building groups if you have more than 3 schools in each of the grade groups. This way you can use one function to copy a menu into all buildings in the group. Similarly, if you serve the same breakfast menu to all grade groups, create a building group that has all of your buildings grouped together so you can copy a menu into all buildings with a single function. For information on creating building groups, speak to an inTEAM Consultant and they can set them up for you. 
  • Copy your MASTER menus into the appropriate weeks
    • Change the name when you make the copy to remove the "MASTER" verbiage from the menu name
  • Adjust your total feeding figure for each copied menu so that it reflects the total feeding figure which is appropriate for each of the schools you've copied the menu into. Likewise, edit the planned numbers to more accurately reflect your planned production numbers for the week. Check your menus for compliance. 
    • If you're copying into a building group, the default feeding figures will be adjusted to the pre-set feeding figures as entered when the building group was created. 
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