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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 Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE’s) 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. 
  • Download and complete the required Cost Reimbursable or Fixed Price Request for Proposal (RFP) from PEARS > Applications > Download Forms > Contracting with a Food Service Management Company (FSMC). Reference the instructional document for guidance on completing. 
  • Complete either the Cost Reimbursable or Fixed Price RFP Attachments. 
December – January 

Email the RFP, Menus, Bid Protest Procedures, Attachments file, and most recent Sponsor to Sponsor Agreement (PDE3086) (if applicable) 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. 

January – February 
  • Advertise. Ad must run for one (1) day a week for three (3) weeks in two (2) different newspapers. Copies of the actual publications must be kept and submitted to DFN. 
  • Solicit a minimum of five (5) full service FSMCs from PDE’s list of approved 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 FSMCs’ proposals and makes written, objective evaluations and recommendations. Evaluation forms are required to be submitted to DFN.

Email the updated RFP and Attachments, along with the additional bid documents per the instructions included in 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 original 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 PEARS Fact Sheet). Signed contracts should be submitted to DFN by June 15, to allow adequate processing time. 

Submit FSMC Fact Sheet in PEARS. This can only be completed once the SFA’s Sponsor Application has been entered in PEARS (the Sponsor Application opens in 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.