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.
- OVS Guides
- OVS Implementation Resources
- Offer versus Serve Materials (USDA)
- Overview of OVS in the NSLP (CSDE)
- Overview of OVS in the SBP (CSDE)
- OVS Tip Sheet for School Food Service Managers: National School Lunch Program (USDA)
- OVS Tip Sheet for School Food Service Managers: School Breakfast Program (USDA)
- Salad Bars and OVS (Documents/Forms section)
- 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
- OVS Training
- Module 15: Offer versus Serve (OVS) in the NSLP (CSDE’s What’s in a Meal: National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Meal Patterns for Grades K-12)
- Module 16: Offer versus Serve (OVS) in the SBP (CSDE’s What’s in a Meal: National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Meal Patterns for Grades K-12)