With such a short lunch period, every second is vital. An efficient meal involves swiftly purchasing food, finding a seat within a reasonable amount of time and devouring said meal.
The prowess of a hungry high school student is on par with an Olympic athlete, but the efficiency of that student is ruined when they have to trek across the cafeteria just to reach their eating utensils. Even Olympic athletes do not want to walk all the way across the cafeteria to get a fork.
Forks, knives, and spoons have proven to be an absolute necessity when it comes to eating lunch, and when students have to go out of their way just to reach them, they start to question the status quo of the lunchroom itself.
By relocating the utensils within the vicinity of the food, students can save time that can better be spent eating, socializing and studying.