Food tech is slowly but surely making its way to the campus dining experience. Colleges and universities are beginning to use innovative restaurant technology to streamline operations and provide students better service.
Hospitality software offers many all-inclusive food tech solutions to maximize efficiency. Campuses incur high volumes of food orders and consist of various dining environments.
Keep reading to learn why restaurant tech is necessary for campus dining options.
Campus Dining: Definition
Campus dining consists of meal plans and eateries on college and university campuses. It’s the primary source of food for many students, especially during their first year or so. Considering the number of people who utilize cafeteria POS systems on campus, it’s important to onboard a platform that nurtures efficiency and stellar customer service.
University Technology in Cafeterias
One of the most valuable forms of university technology is the cafeteria POS platform. However, it doesn’t have to stop at the main dining hall on campus.
Eateries require efficient POS systems on every scale, from casual dining to upscale establishments. However, the college landscape can be more complex. With this being said, continue reading to learn more about six features to use throughout the campus dining ecosystem.
1. Flexible Payment Processing Options
Campus dining involves many different environments. From ordering food in advance to grabbing a quick bite to eat on the way to class, it’s important to offer multiple payment options.
Ensure that the campus dining POS platforms allow contactless payments, cash payments, and the use of cards. One of the most apparent integrations you’ll need that’s different from a standard POS system is the ability to use a student ID to pay for food.
Student IDs function as useful methods of payment. Students can simply log into their online portal to upload funds, which they can use on campus grounds.
Another great perk about POS systems is that all available options follow PCI standards. Students might feel uncertain about unique methods of payment. By utilizing the right POS solution, secure data encryption is a given.
2. Customizable Meal Plans
Innovative POS systems allow eateries and cafeterias to organize their menus and take inventory. With this in mind, utilize a system that integrates meal plan pricing into the system.
In some ways, this could look similar to a restaurant loyalty program in the ability to switch tiers and redeem perks. It’d be very convenient for students to view their plan online, make changes, and see how many meals or “card swipes” they have left.
Connecting meal plans with the POS system will also help enhance inventory management techniques. For instance, the amount of items that must be in stock will depend on the number of meals the entire campus population signs up to receive. This type of consumer data will ensure campus kitchens have exactly what they need without running into the issues of food spoilage or shrinkage.
To organize your cafeteria POS even further, use QR codes to display menus outside campus dining halls. With an app like SproutQR, campus dining staff can monitor a custom QR code on a regular basis. Book a demo to get started today!
3. In-Seat Food Delivery Service
Some of the greatest revenue sources on major college campuses are sporting events. With this in mind, why not elevate the stadium dining experience?
Onboard a restaurant POS platform for sporting events that hosts easy-to-serve menu items. Attendees can use a mobile app to place their orders and receive the item(s) at their seats.
The way this kind of system works, is once somebody places an order, the information goes straight to the kitchen staff. Payment also takes place on the app to save time upon arrival.
App integrations that connect multiple channels are also ideal for tracking inventory. Tracking every sales funnel across campus can be a challenge. But if you have an all-inclusive system, management should be able to streamline campuswide restaurant operations.
4. Complete Data Reporting Tools
Customer data reports are essential for any business. However, campus dining reports will slightly differ from typical restaurant data analytics. Some of the most prominent factors that can impact campus dining reports include the following:
- The number of eateries on campus
- The number of students who live on campus
- The variety of available meal plans
- The ratio of on and off-campus housing
- Whether or not the dining centers cater to dietary restrictions
Since there are so many factors to consider, accurate and routine data reporting is essential. Understanding which factors play a role at different schools and to what extent is vital for campus dining strategies.
Analyzing relevant data will also dictate which POS features work and which ones might be beneficial. Not every dining experience will incur the same results, so monitoring the tactics that benefit operations is important.
5. Self-Serving Kiosks
One of the most convenient offerings a campus dining hall can offer students is self ordering kiosks. Students and faculty are constantly on the go, and it’s always great to have a quick bite to eat nearby.
A campus dining POS system should allow for integrations with these kiosks. All-inclusive devices will be important for combining various data points. Whether the university staff needs to track food trends or determine campus dining revenue, all-inclusive features across the board are essential.
Kiosks are also an innovative way to boost profits on campus. Schools don’t usually offer the most diverse menu types. So, it’s always a nice change when students can customize their meal.
If campus dining kiosks don’t offer the ability to customize food orders, it can still be a profitable idea. Kitchen staff can package food ahead of time to save money and eliminate waste. It’s a tactic in sustainable restaurants and boasts the same perks on campus.
6. Contactless Payments and Electronic Receipts
In the campus dining setting, you’re interacting with many people. With this in mind, contactless payments and digital receipts are beneficial.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have acquired a preference for contactless transactions. Plus, it saves time and paper. POS hardware with barcode scanners makes it simple for mobile payments. And in recent years, many cards have a chip that the readers can scan.
If students or faculty members make a purchase with their student ID, receipts can arrive in their school email inbox. Not only will this help organize everything, but it will remove the need for paper receipts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Campus DIning POS Systems
Onboarding a cafeteria POS system to enhance the campus dining experience can increase sales and meal plan subscriptions. If you still have questions about the topic, continue reading to learn more about campus dining.
How Can You Improve Campus Dining?
Colleges and universities can improve the campus dining experience by pursuing the following tips:
- Cater to more dietary restrictions and preferences
- Remain open at convenient times, especially during finals week
- Change the menu on a daily or weekly basis
- Offer various payment options
Why Are College Cafeterias Important?
College cafeterias are super important because not all student housing includes kitchens. At many universities, freshmen dorms do not have kitchen appliances at all. It’s a simple, closeby, and convenient place for every meal of the day.
What IS the Main Purpose Of A Cafeteria?
The main purpose of a cafeteria is to serve meals to many people. Cafeterias are most popular in places like colleges, corporate buildings, and hospitals. Processes are very similar to those of a quick service restaurant, which makes for a convenient option.
What Is A University Cafeteria Called?
In the United States, a university cafeteria is usually referred to as a dining hall or cafeteria. These eateries are often located in the main student center on college campuses.
What Is Another Word For Dining Hall?
Another word for a dining hall could be “cafeteria” or “dining room.” In most cases, the dining hall is the main eatery and sits in the center of campus.