Offer versus serve (OVS) is a concept that applies to menu planning and the determination of reimbursable school meals for grades K-12 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch Program (NSLP) (including the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). OVS allows students to decline a certain number of food components in the meal and select the foods they prefer to eat. OVS is designed to reduce food cost and waste. It allows menu planners the flexibility to address student participation and selection trends to determine what and how much food to prepare.
At lunch, OVS must be implemented in senior high schools but is optional for all other grades. At breakfast, OVS is optional for all grades. OVS is also optional for the SSO. OVS is not allowed for the Afterschool Snack Program (ASP) or meals for preschoolers (ages 1-4) in the NSLP (including the SSO) and SBP.
- CSDE Guide: Offer versus Serve Guide for School Meals (CSDE)
- Offer versus Serve Materials (USDA)
- Overview of OVS in the NSLP (CSDE)
- Overview of OVS in the SBP (CSDE)
- Salad Bars and OVS (Documents/Forms section)
- School Breakfast Webinar: Offer Versus Serve Overview and Strategies for Success (USDA)
- Signage for OVS (Documents/Forms section)
- USDA Memo SP 41-2015: Updated Offer vs Serve Guidance for the NSLP and SBP Beginning SY 2015-16
- USDA Guide: Offer versus Serve Guidance for the NSLP and SBP (USDA)
- USDA OVS Tip Sheets