Why schools are opting for pre-order solutions as an enhancement to their cashless catering system
For many pupils, lunchtime is their favourite part of the day, as they can spend time with friends and enjoy the foods they love. However, with lunchtimes getting shorter and the demand for popular lunch choices increasing, pupils are at risk of missing out on their favourite school meals. This issue can be reduced with the implementation of a pre-order cashless system, enabling pupils to choose their favourite food options in advance.
There many benefits to allowing pupils to pre-order their food, including eliminating worry about being able to choose their favourite food, eradicating the need for pupils to rush to the canteen before anything runs out, reducing the risk of pupils opting out of lunch if their favourite options are unavailable and encouraging pupils to make healthier choices by planning their lunch. By giving pupils full control over their lunches, they can feel empowered to make nutritious choices and will have access to their favourite food.
Many studies have been conducted on the benefits of pupils opting for school lunches over bringing a packed lunch, with one study by Leeds University (2016) showing that just 1.6% of packed lunches for primary school children met tough nutritional standards set for their classmates eating in the school canteen and also found that only 1 in 5 lunchboxes contained any vegetables or salad.
With pre-order cashless systems, pupils opting for school meals, including those eligible for free school lunches, can be safe in the knowledge that they will have access to their lunch of choice each day, with a wide variety of nutritious options to choose from.
Another factor to take into consideration is time, which can often be a big issue at lunchtime with more schools reducing lunches to 45 minutes to increase lesson times. The University College London (2019) found that infants in England had 45 minutes less break time a week than in 1995, with secondary pupils losing 65 minutes over the same period. If schools don’t have a pre-order cashless system, the window of time for pupils to select their favourite lunch is reduced, which can result in students missing out on their favourite meals and in some cases, opting to skip lunch altogether.
Pre-order cashless systems come in various formats, most popularly in the form of the pre-order apps and kiosks. Mobile apps such as the Fusion Online app, which is specially designed for secondary school students, enables pupils to pick their choices from a set menu, view prices and check their live cashless balance. Pre-order kiosk technology on-the-other-hand encourages pupils to stay ahead of the queue and pre-order their meals via a simple user interface at multiple collection points within the school.
The benefits of pre-ordering school lunches start as early as primary school, with technology such as Smartboards, designed to allow younger pupils to choose their lunchtime meals in the classroom, combining cashless and pre-ordering into one integrated solution. By implementing this pre-ordering cashless solution, younger pupils can take an interest in their lunch choices and be reassured that they will have access to their favourite food at lunch.
An increasing amount of schools are turning to pre-order cashless systems to ensure their pupils are eating the food they enjoy every-day, bringing enjoyment back to lunchtimes and allowing students of all backgrounds to take control over their school lunches.