What are the changes?

You will keep your current kitchen staff, equipment, pots, pans, service hatch and hungry pupils. The new changes will mean a new menu, meal choice, ordering and payment system, service area re-vamp, staff uniform, customer care and Area Management.

It’s not that scary, it can help revive a disenfranchised workforce and breath fresh enthusiasm back into your kitchen.

Dolce School Catering food dishes in school

What about my kitchen equipment? 

You will be pleased to know in almost all local authorities the council acknowledges that the kitchen equipment is part of the estate of the school and its upkeep and renewal is normally what is covered by a local authority SLA. This was established with the implementation of Compulsive Competitive Tendering (CCT) in 1989.


Running a tendering exercise for your school’s catering contract is very simple. If you structure it as a one year contract that can terminate with a term’s notice thereafter then it is easy to fall below the threshold (£181,302) that requires advertising in the European Journal. However, if you are serving over 400 meals a day you may need to look further into this.

When running your own tender you can produce or obtain from us a simple tender document outlining your aspirations for your service and inviting at least three companies to tender (one can be your current provider). The process involves each caterer submitting a proposal and can also include presentations, visits to local schools and references.



If you check your current contract or SLA you should be able to find your notice period. Due to TUPE and best practice a new contractor will need a minimum of six weeks’ notice unless unusual circumstances apply.



Once you appoint a contractor all responsibility for TUPE and mobilisation lies with them. The school will need to supply pupil lists and input parent’s emails where possible. You may also wish to schedule a parents’ evening before going live, for Dolce to attend and speak to the parents.

The most common times to mobilise are September, January and April but mobilisations can happen at any point throughout the year.

Need help with the tender process? Contact Us

Tendering templates

Need a tender template? If you would like to download a simple, easy to use, editable tender template for your catering contract click one of the links below

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Whether you are looking at a new provider for your school meals service, an existing school office or a parent or pupil that would like to speak to a member of our team, we would like to hear from you.

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