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Most individuals are comfortable using their mobile devices or laptops to order rides, groceries and meals, and that's especially true for college students. They are used to an on-demand lifestyle where they can order something and receive it in a short period of time, and they expect that from their college experience too. Today's campuses are implementing foodservice management systems (FSM) to provide students, faculty members and staff with several flexible meal purchase options that can be customized to their preferences and the time they have available. These FSM options are not only providing a convenience to those on campus, they are helping these higher education facilities improve operational efficiency, better manage food costs and labor needs, and reduce food waste.
Now students and faculty can choose how they access, order, pay for, and receive their meals on campus. Gone are the days of missing dinner because they were late getting to the dining hall before it closed. Technology providers have simplified food and beverage ordering (F&B) from anywhere on campus, and they are offering students and faculty a personalized dining experience through customization.
How Many People Need Access to Foodservice on College Campuses Today?
For the academic year 2021-2022, nearly 20.2 million students were enrolled for undergraduate degrees in the United States. When you see that a college like Oregon Health and Science University has as many as one staff member for every student in 2023, that is a huge number of meal plans that these campuses could be offering – and a big opportunity to increase revenue by better managing foodservice campuswide.
Taking time to grab a meal can be a challenge for students and staff when you are looking at transportation limitations, class schedules, faculty and department meetings, and extracurricular activities like sports or part-time jobs. In order to help students and faculty optimize the time they have available, college campuses are offering services such as 24-hour grab-and-go markets with self-serve kiosks, mobile ordering including contactless payment, pick-up or delivery for food orders, and the old standby of a full-service dining hall for those who have time to take a break and eat on-site. These solutions were all built specifically to accommodate the different scenarios a student or faculty member might face on a day-to-day basis and make their experiences and their food choices better.
Student #1: Wants to see what the dining hall has tonight, meet friends, and enjoy a leisurely dinner
Who doesn't enjoy a leisurely dinner? When students have extra time, they can take a break during their day and meet friends at the dining hall. They have the luxury of walking through the facility to choose different items, and then pay for them through contactless payment using their student ID or another form accepted by the school like a credit card or Apple Pay®.
Student #2: Is meeting a study group so they choose mobile ordering and pick up lunch on the way
Through easy-to-access menus, students, staff and faculty can view nutritional information and ingredients, select what they would like, complete their order through simple and secure electronic payment via their mobile device or laptop, and it will be ready for pickup at their assigned time and location.
End-to-end managed foodservice software solutions for optimum productivity and profitability.
Student #3: Has limited time to grab dinner because it's finals week so they opt for mobile ordering and delivery to their dorm
Sometimes it's not that easy to break away and delivery is the most convenient option. Students and faculty alike can access their school accounts online or through the school’s app, select a food outlet that offers delivery, pay at the end of their order, and receive their order without interrupting their schedule.
Student #4: Is headed home from their part-time job after many outlets are closed and decides to swing by the micro market and use the kiosk for self checkout and grab-and-go service
Students and faculty can't always predict when they will be available after a class, study session or when their work day ends. With the flexibility that micro markets provide, they have access to food and beverage (F&B) items 24/7, and they do not have to wait for a staff member to help them. Features like self checkout through kiosks that scan all items on your tray, ignore things like your keys and wallet, total your bill and seamlessly accept payment, alleviate the stress caused by unpredictable schedules and late or off-hour commitments. For campuses that offer a variety of FSM options that cater to different schedules and preferences, students and faculty won't have to go hungry or resort to costly off-campus restaurants.
It's Not Just the Students and Faculty Who Benefit from Foodservice Management Software
Campus food departments can easily view and analyze the most popular menu choices, and through recipe management and inventory and procurement capabilities, help the university decrease food costs and limit food waste. Plus, foodservice staff can be allocated where they are needed most as there is no longer the need for a staff member to take an order directly or man a fixed terminal.
Optimizing food & beverage operations and profitability demands a flexible, enterprise class point-of-sale system. Is yours up to the task?
These FSM solutions are built specifically for the use of higher education facilities and their needs, and they integrate seamlessly with leading student and faculty campus card systems and most existing point-of-sale systems (POS). If needed, campuses can update their POS system, as experienced solution providers offer customized POS systems for higher education restaurant and retail outlets that integrate directly with these FSM systems.
Colleges and universities are 24-hour environments, and the many people who walk the campuses have different food preferences, allergies, dietary requirements, and unpredictable schedules. Menus are accessible through these systems and offer ingredient details and nutritional information so the person can easily order something that is best for them the first time. The main goals of these solutions are to provide convenience and better meal options to students, faculty and staff, and also to help college foodservice teams be more productive, optimize the staff they have on campus, and increase revenue.
Universities are able to drive meal plan sales by offering a superior on-campus dining experience through proper foodservice management, and these solutions are elevating both the employee experience and that of the students, faculty and other staff members who access them.
Don't make foodservice the reason students and faculty decline the invitation to join your campus life. Implement an end-to-end managed foodservice software solution that supports the busy schedules and varied food preferences at your university.
November 08, 2022
As 2022 comes to a close, we look ahead to the hospitality industry events planned for the coming y