Recently we talked with Chris Baird at Mt. Enterprise ISD in Texas to hear his experience of switching from free, state-provided software, to Health-e Pro’s menu planning software. Read more to hear about his switch to Health-e Pro and his favorite part–or four!–about the software so far: 

Why did you switch from a free software?

The biggest problem with the free software was that I wasn’t in control. Someone at the state went through the records and decided they needed to verify passwords via fax; they locked me out because our fax didn’t go. I’m always a week ahead, but I couldn’t get into the software. I decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore, so I started looking at Health-e Pro

How was it getting up and running with Health-e Pro?

It worked out REALLY well. And Lynn kept following along the whole way, so if I had any questions, she could answer them and then we could keep going.

How helpful has Health-e Pro been?

Health-e Pro’s been helping a lot. I didn’t mind our previous software, but it wasn’t helping me get things done. Because it was free, we didn’t get support from the software company itself.

With Health-e Pro, it’s been easy to get the online menus set up, which I’ve pushed the parents toward. The Online Menus with Health-e Pro helped streamline publishing our menus and it also helped us with calorie counts. We put calories on index cards and put that calorie card on top of our line, so students can see the calorie count of each menu item, how many cups, etc. I have all the labels colored. That came about thanks to Health-e Pro because now we can easily see calorie counts of everything, so I’m using it to our advantage. It shifted the perspective of some students who now want to eat school breakfast and lunch. A lot of the benefits of Health-e Pro are intangible, but make the nutrition program better.

Favorite part about the software so far?

Originally my favorite part was how it looks online–and I still like that–but now my favorite part is compliance: how easy it is to put something on the menu and instantly see how it fits into compliance for the week. I had to abort one item I was trying because I just couldn’t get it to work, and I knew within 5-10 minutes it was going to be more work than I wanted. It saved me a lot of time.

That’s the other area I feel comfortable in: the Health-e Pro team will look at your menus. Free software training teams can train you, but they can’t give you answers. I trust Health-e Pro’s team because they have a stake in it.

Health-e Pro was GREAT in setting up a salad bar.

Another favorite thing. The Product Spec sheets are updated for you if you use products within Health-e Pro. Health-e Pro pulls the old ones out and puts the new ones in without you having to do anything!

My boss has seen all these changes and he likes the software. We haven’t had a single parent complaint all year, and he’s really interested in that.

Health-e Pro is easier for me to get in, start up, and finish. It takes me one hour.

What else have you been noticing?

Health-e Pro is making a big difference. It’s hard to fathom that a program is making a big difference, but it does. The eye appeal is good. The colors of the menus helps to break up the monotony from a black-and-white page. Not only has Health-e Pro gone through the problems of getting the software to work how the USDA wants it, but they make the software visually appealing.

What’s the bottom line for you, with Health-e Pro?

The biggest advantage is, you work for me. I’m giving you money, and if you want to keep the money, you have to help me! With the state, it doesn’t matter. When you pay somebody, you have expectations that they have to meet. If it’s free, that puts me at the state’s beck and call. I work more directly for the state when I’m using their free stuff than when I don’t use their free stuff.

I know if I need something I can call or email and get some answers. But it’s not that way with free state software. They can make a change that you don’t like, and you won’t have any say in it. Every day for you–Health-e Pro–is trying to keep clients happy, and you do that well.