Providing a safe and efficient hospitality environment is key for the overall student experience. With the focus on good nutrition, and its impact on health and learning, it is essential that the right systems and processes are in place to support the food offering. Removing potential queuing at peak times and providing more ways for students to order, pay and collect their meals can contribute to a healthier and more efficient environment.
In schools and Further Education Colleges, it is widely expected that more students will be entitled to free school meals and various bursary options than ever before. The demand for in-school or on-campus food and beverage provision is set to grow, so it is important to have the best solution for your students, parents, teaching, and catering staff.
What is Cashless Catering?
A Cashless catering system means that pupils, students, and staff may use a pre-paid account balance to pay for any allowed products at the till system. Where there is a daily free school meal (FSM) entitlement, this balance is used first and then any additional ‘topped up’ balance is depleted. As well as an FSM or bursary fund, users can top up additional funds in several ways, either at the till, online via a secure Cashless Web Portal (CWP) or at a kiosk.
Authorised users create a secure online account in the CWP whereby additional funds are securely added to the account balance as and when desired. At the till point, on campus, users may be authenticated using various methods including an option for biometric fingerprints or the use of NFC (Near Field Communications). In FE colleges and university campuses, it’s typically the case that the student Mifare card is used both as their identity pass and to access their cashless balances for catering and even for printing. A cashless account can be managed online and topped up to allow for spending on-premise increasing security for students and speeding up transaction times.
Cashless till systems allow a smooth service to be run, keeping queuing times to an absolute minimum.
So how can an EPOS system help?
A fully integrated cashless EPOS system provides you with a single solution with a comprehensive back office and reporting system capable of handling multiple payment options, including cashless balance account payments, and fully integrated contactless Chip & PIN card payments able to accept Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The system should be able to handle the different VAT rates for staff and students so that detailed reports are available analysis.
Its commonplace to have some level of integration with the chosen Management Information (MIS) or Finance System to maximise the flow of data. For example, students checked as eligible for FSM’s on the MIS system are seamlessly updated along with a daily balance to the EPOS system.
What about Self-Service Kiosks?
Semi attended Self-Service points are a great way to help to reduce queues and can help to turn dead space into useful service areas. They too can work be integrated with the EPOS system and cashless account, allowing again for a smooth service, and are fully integrated with your solution to ensure you get all of the data when you need it.
Mobile Ordering is also a great option.
Mobile ordering is a great way for staff and students to order ahead of time and collect their food and drink when they need it. Using their own mobile devices users can scan a QR code, or use NFC to access menus, place orders and pay without the need to queue.
When it comes to FE colleges and universities, being able to offer tailored promotions to retain students on campus can be a real boost. Having digital rewards in the form of collecting points equivalent to a cash balance or earning rewards such as ‘buy 6 coffees get 1 free’ can boost repeat business. Or a separate campaign along the same lines can help increase sales of any chosen items of category of products.
As well as all of the benefits listed above, you’ll have support. When Haven Systems provides a solution, we don’t just leave you to ‘get on with it’. We help to train your team to ensure they can get the best from the software, and we’re on the end of the phone, and available to visit should you encounter any issues.