Nutrition Technology for K-12 Schools: The Greatest Gift of All
Managing a school meal program is almost an extreme sport. Balancing the needs of the students with budgets, nutrition guidelines and regulations, on top of district goals, creates a real test of wills.
Does this sound familiar? In the last year, you’ve seen a decrease in your meals program participation – the kids (and their parents) don’t seem interested. The students slog through slow lines and slow service. And the Free and Reduced program is too time-consuming to manage properly. You’re stressed out, and there seems to be no relief in sight.
Now, picture this: You are in control of every aspect of your meals program – it no longer runs you. Participation is up, your service and line speed are faster than ever, and the Free and Reduced program is practically automated. Your shoulders relax for the first time in years. Heck – you even smile! That’s what nutrition technology can do for your K-12 school lunch program.
In this post, you’ll learn how school nutrition technology can:
- Increase participation
- Speed up service
- Reduce costs
- Decrease IT reliance
Ready to get started? Read on to learn more about how nutrition technology helps make K-12 school meals programs run more efficiently than ever before.
Ramp up participation with nutrition technology.
If there’s a lack of interest in your meals program, nutrition technology gives your participation numbers a much-needed boost. When researching solutions for your program, here are some things to look for:
- A POS system that tracks student favorites. A dynamic point-of-sale system helps you to build a menu loaded with the items they enjoy the most.
- A digital menu display for the cafeteria. Digital menus are engaging for students and school staff alike. Look for a solution that includes pre-built templates that are easy to edit. On top of that, digital menu boards allow you to highlight items and can increase sales by up to 50%.
- An online application for Free and Reduced. An online application makes it easier than ever to get students enrolled and keep their information updated.
Your lunchline, only faster.
Remember when we mentioned that POS system above? That applies here too! A POS system streamlines the checkout process to make serving students faster than ever. It also connects to your school’s SIS, so your student information is always updated in real-time.
What about digital menus? They help here, too! Digital menu boards are so engaging that they reduce the perceived wait time by up to 35%.
Lower the cost of doing business – who doesn’t love that?
Chances are very likely you are always on the hunt for ways to cut costs in your meals program. Nutrition technology helps by reducing paper usage, decreasing time spent on administrative tasks, and making inventory a breeze. Here’s how:
- Reduces the amount of administrative time it takes to enter application information manually.
- Automatically mails a letter to parents or guardians to keep them updated on the students’ status.
- System updates happen in real-time, so there isn’t any lost productivity.
- Reduces the amount of time spent tracking down meal payments from parents.
- Automatically alerts parents of low balance or debt, so your staff is free to serve children nutritious and delicious meals.
Mobile App for Inventory
- Connects to your meal planning system so you can easily see what you have on hand and what you need to use.
- Changes to inventory are updated in real-time, so the counts are always accurate on-site and at your central office.
Nutrition technology helps minimize your reliance on IT.
Your nutrition technology should be easy to use by everyone on your team. No one wants a tool that makes you 100% reliant on IT for every little issue that arises. School meals management software like MealsPlus makes it easy to implement and learn.
But how will you know the software is easy-to-use before purchasing? Hunt for product reviews. One glance at our testimonials page, and you’ll begin to see a trend: many of the reviews mention ease-of-use. But our favorite review is from Tonya of Greenville City Schools:
“I have three cashiers that are 67-years-old, and we started with MealsPlus in 2009. They have all mastered it, and two of them had no prior computer experience.”
The easier the software is to use, the less likely you’ll need IT to step in.
Nutrition technology helps you stress less and do more.
The new year is upon us; it’s time to make positive changes that will impact the whole year. If your school meals program feels disorganized and inefficient, or if the student participation is lacking, it’s time to consider an upgrade to your nutrition technology.
Your program deserves a school meals management solution that increases participation, speeds up service, lessens the administrative load, and makes your team more self-sufficient.
Nutrition technology is truly the gift that keeps on giving all year long.