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Service quality of school canteens: a case study from the Western Province, Sri Lanka


M. C. Weerasinghe,

University of Colombo, LK
About M. C.
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Samanthi Bandara ,

Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), Colombo, LK
About Samanthi
Research Officer
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M. Sanoon

Base Hospital, Karawanella, LK
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Creating a healthy eating environment in schools is a proposed outcome of school canteen guidelines issued in 2007 in Sri Lanka. Maintaining service quality, guarantees achieving better health standards of school canteens.



This study assessed service quality of canteens in terms of location, physical facilities in food preparation and serving areas, food handling practices, food storage, and waste management. Further, it explored causes for deviating the service quality from the stipulated guidelines.



This is a across sectional study, conducted in government schools in two districts in 2014. Service qualities of the canteens were assessed using a quantitative tool. Qualitative inquiry was used to explore perceptions of school principals and canteen operators on service quality.



Eighty eight percent of canteens were located in a suitable place and 78% had a clean outside environment. Only two third of food preparation areas satisfied the basic criteria. A dining area was available for students only in half. More than 80% of canteens had waste water drainage and 89% of canteens had bins for waste disposal. However, majority of canteens did not keep bins closed. Half of the canteens had cooling equipment, and majority of them had a practice to store raw materials and cooked food separately. Almost in 30 % of canteens, food was not covered in the serving area, and more than 90% of canteens used neither aprons nor gloves.



This study found that providing quality food quality in school canteens has been a challenge due to many gaps in the present system. However, strengthening the service quality towards a healthy nutrition promoting setting can be done by change in planning and implementation processes.
How to Cite: Weerasinghe, M.C., Bandara, S. and Sanoon, M., 2017. Service quality of school canteens: a case study from the Western Province, Sri Lanka. Ceylon Journal of Medical Science, 54(2), pp.11–16. DOI:
Published on 27 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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