How The Air Force Academy Makes 10,000 Meals A Day For 4,000 Cadets | Boot Camp | Insider Business

How does the United States Air Force Academy’s Mitchell Hall manage to prepare a staggering 10,000 meals a day for its 4,000 cadets? Insider Business got an exclusive look at the inner workings of this massive operation. Mitchell Hall, one of the largest and most advanced dining facilities in the world, can feed 4,000 cadets in under 30 minutes. These meals include an astonishing amount of food — from 4,200 beef tenderloin steaks and 590 pounds of hash browns for breakfast to 127 pounds of bacon and 1,700 pounds of waffle fries for lunch. The menu is carefully planned weeks in advance, and the meals are stored in a 20,000 square-foot warehouse. With limited time for eating and strict nutrition requirements, the cadets rely on Mitchell Hall to provide up to 5,000 calories per day.

The article dives into the details of how this massive operation is orchestrated. Mitchell Hall operates on a budget of $20 million per year and procures a staggering amount of food, including 546,000 pounds of meat, 1.2 million pounds of produce, and 21,000 gallons of milk. The staff, although facing a shortage due to the pandemic, works diligently to ensure that the cadets are provided with nutritious meals. From the impressive assembly line-style cooking process to the traditions and sense of accomplishment during recognition dinners, Mitchell Hall’s staff goes above and beyond to serve the needs of the cadets.


Welcome to the fascinating world of Mitchell Hall, the Air Force Academy’s renowned dining facility. In this article, we will take you on a journey behind the scenes of this incredible establishment, where 10,000 meals are prepared every day to feed 4,000 hungry cadets. From the meticulous planning of menus to the high-energy dining experience, we will explore every aspect of this massive operation. Join us as we delve into the inner workings of Mitchell Hall and discover how it manages to serve thousands of meals in record time while meeting the specific nutritional needs of its cadets.

The Air Force Academy’s Mitchell Hall

At the United States Air Force Academy, Mitchell Hall stands as a symbol of excellence in dining services. One of the world’s largest and most advanced dining facilities, it operates on an impressive scale. With the ability to feed 4,000 cadets in under 30 minutes and the capacity to prepare 10,000 meals each day, Mitchell Hall is a true marvel of efficiency and organization.

Cadet Meals at Mitchell Hall

For the cadets of the Air Force Academy, meals at Mitchell Hall are not just about satisfying hunger; they are an integral part of their cadet experience. Three days a week, cadets gather outside the facility and march in to enjoy a family-style lunch. This tradition brings them together and fosters a sense of camaraderie among the cadet wing.

However, cadets face unique challenges when it comes to their dining experience. With limited time for eating and specific nutrition requirements, Mitchell Hall must ensure that every meal meets these demands. Whether it’s providing enough calories for the rigorous physical training or accommodating dietary restrictions, the staff at Mitchell Hall takes great care to cater to the cadets’ needs.

Insider Business Visit

Insider Business had the exclusive opportunity to spend three days with the staff of Mitchell Hall, witnessing firsthand the coordination and dedication required to plan and prepare meals for the cadets. From menu planning to meal execution, our team experienced the behind-the-scenes operations and understood the immense effort put in by the staff to deliver nutritious and delicious meals to the cadets.

Menu and Meal Preparation

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at Mitchell Hall, with each menu planned weeks in advance. The planning process is meticulous, taking into account the cadets’ preferences and nutritional requirements. Meals are stored in a massive 20,000 square foot warehouse, ensuring that the kitchen is well-stocked with ingredients and supplies.

However, due to a staffing shortage, Mitchell Hall has had to rely on pre-cooked convenience items to meet the high demand. These items provide a time-saving solution while still delivering the necessary nutrients to the cadets. Despite these challenges, the staff at Mitchell Hall continues to provide exceptional dining experiences for the cadets.

Meal Quantities and Budget

To grasp the scale of operations at Mitchell Hall, let’s take a look at the staggering quantities of food required to feed the cadets. With 10,000 meals served daily, Mitchell Hall goes through an incredible amount of ingredients. For breakfast alone, they prepare 375 pounds of eggs, 590 pounds of hash browns, and 90 pounds of bacon. The budget for Mitchell Hall is equally impressive, with an annual allocation of $20 million. This budget allows them to purchase 546,000 pounds of meat, 1.2 million pounds of produce, and 21,000 gallons of milk.

Special Events at Mitchell Hall

While Mitchell Hall serves daily meals, it also hosts special events that add a touch of excitement to the cadets’ dining experience. One such event is the Recognition Dinner, which celebrates the freshmen cadets and marks their transition to fully qualified members of the cadet wing. The Recognition Dinner is an elaborate affair, featuring 4,000 steaks, 1,600 pounds of tortellini, and 788 pounds of glazed carrots. These special events further enhance the sense of community and pride among the cadets.

Cadet Experience at Mitchell Hall

For the cadets of the Air Force Academy, Mitchell Hall plays a significant role in their daily lives. They are required to attend meals at the facility three days a week, with lunch being a particularly important meal. Despite having only 20 minutes to eat, cadets make the most of their time by relying on the efficient service provided by the staff. Fourth-year cadets take on the responsibility of serving food and setting the tables, further enriching their experience and instilling a sense of discipline.

One of the key aspects of the cadet experience at Mitchell Hall is the emphasis on their nutritional needs and energy requirements. Recognizing the physically demanding nature of their training, cadets are provided with a daily calorie intake of 4,700 for men and 3,000 for women. Mitchell Hall ensures that these requirements are met through carefully planned meals that prioritize nutrition and energy.


In conclusion, Mitchell Hall at the United States Air Force Academy is an extraordinary dining facility that caters to the needs of 4,000 cadets each day. Its ability to serve 10,000 meals in record time and meet the specific nutritional requirements of the cadets is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the staff. From planning menus weeks in advance to executing meals with precision, Mitchell Hall ensures that the cadets are well-fed and ready to face the challenges of their training. It is a place where nourishment and tradition intertwine, leaving a lasting impression on the cadets and their Air Force journey.

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