It’s back to school time, but parents and educators alike feel nervous about what the new school year will bring. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to make major changes in the way they operate.
And one of the biggest changes that will have to be made is in their lunchroom procedures. School lunches cannot look the way they looked just a year earlier -- many accommodations have to be made.
For schools that have returned to in-person classes, no longer can students be crowded in a long lunch line while they wait to get their food. Self-service stations are no longer appropriate, and students need to maintain at least six feet of distance once they sit down to eat.
These aren’t easy changes for school administrators to make, but the right tools and solutions will make it possible. And for cafeteria staff, this starts by choosing the right school cafeteria POS software.
8 Reasons You Need a School Lunch POS System
A school lunch POS system is the software you’ll use to manage student lunches. You’ll use the software to ring up student lunches, track their orders and manage cafeteria inventory levels.
Having the right software can save your staff hours of time and make it easier to implement social distancing guidelines. Here are eight reasons you need a school lunch point of sale system:
1. Speed up transactions
The right POS system will speed up transactions and minimize the time students spend waiting in line. Cashiers can quickly ring students up and move them through the lines, eliminating bottlenecks and time spent waiting at the register.
And schools can make the lines move even faster by incorporating digital menu boards in the cafeteria. These menu boards will display all the lunch items, so students can choose what they want while they’re waiting in line. That way, when it’s their turn to select their food, they already know what they want.
Another benefit of using a POS system is that it ensures accuracy. Many of the steps the cashier will take are automated, which reduces the likelihood that they’ll make mistakes.
The staff member can either scan an item’s barcode or select the product button on the screen. This eliminates the need to manually look up certain items. And the cashier can finalize the payment either using the student’s account or by scanning a prepaid card.
The right POS system is more convenient for school staff and the families of students. That’s because your POS system will come with an online portal where parents can monitor their child’s hot lunch account.
Once they log into the portal, they can see what their child is eating every day for lunch. They can update their meal preferences to account for any dietary restrictions. And they can set spending limits for the account.
Plus, parents can make sure there is always money on their student’s account. They can make secure online payments and set automatic reminders, so they’ll know when their child’s lunch balance is getting low.
4. View transaction history
A school POS system makes it easy to view a student’s transaction history. Each student has their own account, and cashiers can easily look up past purchases. This is helpful if students want to purchase an item but can’t remember what it was called.
5. Inventory management
Most POS systems, like the one Vanco Education offers, have built-in inventory management features. And this is important because staff members must have a way to monitor the cafeteria inventory.
The inventory management feature will show you what items you have available, and what items you’re running low on. The software should also be easy and intuitive to use, so all of your staff members can easily navigate it.
6. Reporting features
The right POS system will automatically generate reports you can use. This is incredibly useful when you need to see your inventory status or see what items are the most popular with students.
It will also show you which vendors are the least expensive. These automatic reporting features will show you where the gaps are in your cafeteria management and where improvements can be made.
7. Students can pre-order meals
One of the biggest advantages of a POS system is that it gives students the option to pre-order their meals. This will be a useful tool for schools as they look for ways to incorporate social distancing procedures.
At the beginning of the week, parents can log into the online portal and see what meals are available. They can then pre-order their student's meals, so the cafeteria knows what kinds of food to prepare ahead of time.
This is more convenient for parents and staff members. Parents get to plan ahead, and they know what their children are eating for lunch at school. And staff members can operate the cafeteria more efficiently because they already know what meals to prepare for students.
8. Improve social distancing procedures
Finally, the right POS system will make it easier for your school to implement social distancing. This is important because it will keep kids safe at school and help reduce the spread of COVID.
With the right POS software, you reduce or even eliminate the time students spend waiting in line. And if parents pre-order their student’s meals, you can even cut out the cafeteria experience altogether. Instead, staff members can deliver the meals straight to the classroom, and students can eat there.
Back to school time feels more challenging than ever, but school administrators can find a way to make it work with the right tools and solutions. Having the right school lunch POS system will help you operate lunchtime more efficiently and in a way that keeps staff members and students safer.
Vanco Education has worked with public, private, and charter schools to deliver the hardware and software you need. With our software, you can implement contactless payments, get rid of long lunch lines and save your staff time. To learn more, contact us to try a demo of our service.