Begin Main Content Area

Request for Proposal Timeline for Food Service Management Company (FSMC) Contracts 

This process must be completed by July 1st for the upcoming school year 

Note: The cost of meal services that begin prior to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Division of Food and Nutrition (DFN) final approval cannot be paid from the nonprofit school food service account.

September – November

  • Create 21-day menus for each food program that you are participating in (only 11 days need to be created for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)). Be sure to include all milk choices offered to the students. Menus must be developed by the School Food Authority (SFA) without the assistance of any FSMC bidding on the contract.
  • Create Bid Protest Procedures.
  • Establish an evaluation committee of at least three (3) people.
  • Download the required Cost Reimbursable or Fixed Price Request for Proposal (RFP) Adobe Binder from CN PEARS > Applications > Download Forms > Contracting with a Food Service Management Company (FSMC). Reference the instructional document for guidance on completing the RFP and Attachment Adobe Forms included in the binder.

December – January
Email the RFP and Attachments (original files), Menus, and Bid Protest Procedures to DFN at for approval prior to advertising. DFN highly recommends that the RFP is submitted for approval prior to advertising.

  • By not submitting for prior approval, the SFA may be required to rebid the contract and incur additional advertising expenses and delays to the execution of the contract. RFPs should be submitted for pre-issue review by March 31.

January – February

  • Advertise. Ad must run for one (1) day a week for three (3) weeks in two (2) different newspapers of broad circulation. Copies of the actual publications must be kept and submitted to DFN.
  • Solicit a minimum of five (5) full service FSMCs from DFNs list of registered FSMCs at the time of advertising. Retain copies as they are required to be submitted to DFN.

February – March
Hold a Pre-Bid Meeting including a walk-through of the facility. Representatives from each FSMC submitting proposals are required to attend.

FSMCs submit proposals to SFA. There is a public bid opening. Representatives from FSMCs are not required but should be welcomed to attend.

March – April
Evaluation committee awards points to FSMC proposals and makes written, objective evaluations and recommendations. Evaluation forms are required to be submitted to DFN.

Email the updated RFP and Adobe Forms, along with the additional bid documents, per the instructions included with the appropriate RFP, to DFN will review the contract. DFN will contact the SFA if anything needs to be clarified or revised. Once the contract is satisfactory to DFN, the RFP will be initialed on each page by DFN staff in blue ink, then returned to the SFA.

May 1
Proposed contract with all bid documents, as described above, should be submitted to DFN for review.

May – June
Submit completed contract (with all required verifiable digital signatures) to DFN for final approval (the contract becomes legal and binding once the Agreement Page is signed by both parties involved but is not effective until DFN has entered an approval date on the CN PEARS Fact Sheet). Signed contracts should be submitted to DFN by June 10 to allow adequate processing time.

Submit FSMC Fact Sheet in CN PEARS. This can only be completed once the SFAs Sponsor Application has been entered in CN PEARS (the Sponsor Application opens in CN PEARS in May of each year). The Fact Sheet will need to be approved before the Sponsor Application can be approved, and no claims can be submitted without the Sponsor Application being approved.