High school students in San Francisco’s Unified School District might be able to order their meals via tablet in the future. Image: IDEO
IDEO recently took on a particularly picky client: Kids. More specifically, kids who should be eating school lunches on the regular, but weren’t.
The San Francisco Unified School District hired the design firm (through a donation from the Sara & Evan Williams Foundation) last spring to answer a nagging, persistent question: How do you get kids to eat lunch at school, and get them to do so consistently?
This was a big problem. The district has more than 55,000 students attending 114 schools. Nearly 60 percent of them qualify for free or reduced lunch, but only 60 percent qualifying students were taking advantage of it. Only around 40 percent of all students were eating the lunches on a regular basis. It was a wasted opportunity, and an expensive one at that. “The school district was running a huge operation at what ended up being a deficit because kids weren’t really participating,” says Sandy Speicher, an associate partner at IDEO.
Over the course of five months, IDEO designers embedded themselves in San Francisco schools, where they observed and questioned students about what they wanted from lunchtime. They found there are a few simple ways to get kids to think differently about school lunch, and few of them are about food.
IDEO laid out the findings in its Future Dining Experience proposal. The 200-page booklet suggests a total re-design of the school lunch experience, with specific recommendations like replicating Apple’s mobile checkout system or creating a website where students can submit recipes. But the bulk of IDEO’s work hinges on a few big ideas: Schools need to tailor the dining experience to specific age groups, they should make eating school lunches more convenient and rewarding, and perhaps most importantly, they need to create an environment where and students can take a break and socialize with their friends.
No one had actually asked these kids what was important to them.
Schools typically approach lunch with an assembly line, one-size fits all mentality. What elementary school students experience in their cafeteria is modified only slightly for middle and high school. Ambiance and environment often are sacrificed for the sake of saving time and money. “There’s a lot of legacy design in the cafeteria,” says Speicher, referring to long rectangular tables, inefficient food lines and fixed point-of-sale positions.
IDEO realized that despite the schools’ inherent focus on student well-being, no one had asked kids what was important to them. “We wanted to approach it from understanding the people that this whole system is organized to serve,” says Coe Leta Stafford, a design director at IDEO who worked on the project.
Image: IDEOClick to Open Overlay Gallery
A table captain helps serve vegetables out of a family-style bowl. Image: IDEO
It seems doing so would be obvious, but involving kids in the decision-making never really happened before. Schools adhere to strict policies and requirements, which leaves little room for unconventional approaches. “We’re a large urban school system in America. Innovation really means you’re going to do something 10 years in the future,” says district Superintendent Richard Carranza.
Working with IDEO meant the district’s was able to conduct what was essentially a massive social experiment in real time with real kids. It led to a few breakthroughs.
Lunchroom as Innovation Lab
IDEO’s main suggestions were broken down by school age and catered to the specific needs of elementary, middle and high schoolers:
Kids aren’t quick decision makers. They like to mull things over; they also need time to develop a relationship to food. “When you force them through a line quickly where they have to assemble these components on their tray, they sit down and they’re like, ‘These veggies, meh. I’m throwing that away,’” says Speicher.
IDEO suggested students go to recess first to work up an appetite. Then when the kids get to the lunchroom, which IDEO envisions with “soft lighting and ambient music, they’ll sit down a series of round tables and will be served their meal family-style, starting with the vegetable.
There are no lines. Instead, carts of food come around to each table, serving the students different courses in a set sequence to encourage them to finish what’s on their plates. At such a young age, mealtime is a teachable moment, so every students gets a turn to be table captain, allows them to help serve the food and show responsibility.
In a clever test, IDEO found that if you removed food from its packaging and put it in a bowl, students responded more positively to it. “We served exact same food the cafeteria served, and all of the students said, ‘This isn’t the same food,’” recalls Stafford.
Kids aren’t quick decision makers. They like to mull things over.
Middle-schoolers are a notoriously tough age group. They’re old enough to make their own decisions, but still young enough to need guidance. IDEO’s main suggestion was to give students ownership over their lunchtime experience. “They want a space that they want to be in, and what better way to do that than let them design it,” Stafford says. In IDEO’s plan, twice a year students would redesign their cafeteria space—from artwork to seating. If you ask middle-schoolers what they want, they’ll tell you they want a cafeteria that’s more than just a place to eat. They want an activity hub where they can hang out with friends on bean bags, read a book or do homework.
Students also wanted options for how they get their food, so IDEO designed a system where kids could grab a pre-made meal from a vending machine or mobile cart and enjoy it outside in a lounge area.
By high school, many students would rather go out with friends than stick around campus, which meant creating a convincing incentive for them to eat a school lunch. It was a matter of designing around their busy lives, making it more convenient to drop by the cafeteria than leave. Ideo suggested an express line where students could pick up pre-packaged meals, vending machine meals in student hot-spots and and an RSVP system students would use the night before to indicate whether they’d be eating lunch on campus. IDEO also recommended using loyalty cards, which would reward students with points they can redeem for school merchandise.
Perhaps the most innovative element of the proposal is the “Smart Meal Technology.” The app allows students to pre-order meals, indicate food preferences, and rate the quality of what they just ate. This is a trove of previously untapped data that also gives students a voice in what they’re consuming–something Stafford and Speicher say is invaluable. “Food is currency for kids,” Stafford says. “It’s one of the few currencies they have control over, so we wanted to let them keep that.”
Image: IDEOClick to Open Overlay Gallery
IDEO worked with the SFUSD for more than five months to totally re-design the school lunch experience. Image: IDEO
Think Like a Designer
IDEO’s plan is sprawling, and it’s true that the school district can’t meet every suggestion. But the district plans to implement parts of it, beginning at Willie Brown Middle School in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in 2015. The school will be an incubator of sorts, testing the Smart Meal Technology and allowing students a say in how the cafeteria is designed.
Though the district would love to implement the plan entirely, things like federal and local policy, reimbursements and labor regulations must be considered. And, of course, financing.
Admittedly, IDEO’s vision sounds a little idealistic for a pragmatic system like a school, but its designers insist the program was rooted in hard numbers. The team worked with the district to nail down exactly what it could spend and how much new revenue had to be generated by this new plan. There were policy considerations, reimbursement regulations and labor rules to think about. “All of those pieces were design tools we had,” says Speicher. “If you think of it like a product, those were the materials we had to design the system.”
School systems can’t afford to move fast and break things. In this world, change happens slowly.
Like many school systems, San Francisco’s operates on a deficit. There are few resources for research and development, even less to invest in a sprawling social experiment like the one IDEO conducted. “We don’t often get the luxury of not getting things right,” says Carranza. “We don’t have the luxury of just trying things out to see if they work or not.”
School systems can’t afford to move fast and break things. In this world, change happens slowly, winding its way through approval votes and bureaucratic tape. “This allows us to do R&D not think about, well, what are the regulations what are we allowed to do, what does the budget look like for this?”
Carranza was so enamored with the IDEO way of thinking, he took his entire cabinet to the San Francisco offices to observe how the design studio works and problem solves. “It’s changed our vocabulary so now we’re talking about the end user and R&D,” he says. “We’re thinking about tinkering as a means to better a outcome.”
The district has since created an innovation lab, a program that asks teachers for pipe-dream ideas so they can start to dream up solutions, no matter how difficult they might be to implement. They’ve already gotten proposals for how to take the problem of wriggling more elective classes into the curriculum, as well as how to give teachers more time to collaborate together.
“This has been a fundamental paradigm shift for us,” he says. “We’re a traditional public school system thinking in a very innovative, entrepreneurial way. Quite honestly, it feels pretty good.”
Learn more about IDEO’s work with SFUSD here.
Image: IDEOClick to Open Overlay Gallery
Every business requires utmost management skills Cafeteria sector also. From managing the reservations, to allotting tables to customers, manage wait list , to keeping eye on timely delivery of orders, each aspect needs to be managed up to perfection. There will be major customer dissatisfaction in any kind of delay or not proper service. A simple way to avoid such errors is to use a Cafeteria Accounting Software.
There are so many service provider in the field of food industry who provides Cafeteria Accounting Software. We have partner with various top industry leaders like FEE ZEE, Affinety Solutions, EduTrak Software, rSchool Today, Efunds, and Convenient Payments.
These softwares have been in the market for quite long time. Cafeteria owners hesitated in adopting new technologies; however, with time they could understand that such software can increase efficiency and the output on efforts few years ago. Billing, food reservations, order handling and delivery to the food, all these are now handled by the software systems.
However, good Cafeteria Accounting Software like Lunch Cashier System, go much beyond the operation management functionalities and provide in-depth data & reports for the top management. Below are 7 features that can help you increase your organization’s profitability and become the catalyst for its growth.
- Web Based Solutions- All of our solutions are web based or have a web based option. This makes the LCS line of products usable on virtually any HTML5 capable device. You do not need to worry about troublesome installations or user access problems. LCS runs on MAC, Windows, Linux, Android and old and new equipment. Depending on your deployments selections, you may be able to run the system from home.
- Forecasting with Quick and Easy setup. No program installations required! – As Cafeteria sales depend on many external factors like weekends, school exams, weather conditions and even sporting events, it becomes increasing important to forecast the sales. Automated forecasts produced every week/month along with charts in the software would show your progress, real time history, sales progress and multiple department forecasts.
- a) The LCS 1000 can be setup after breakfast and it will be ready to serve before lunch! That’s the efficiency that this new appliance has to offer to your institution.
- b) We have removed the need to install or transfer data from one office computer to another. No more time spent transferring programs from an old computer to a new one. No time consuming installations. No more problems with compatibility from one version of a Windows to another.
- c) This box plugs into your network and is set up like any other server, then it is ready to go. No further involvement from a school technician is required. Wordware’s friendly technical support staff will take over answering all questions and concerns, plus addressing the initial importing of the schools current information into the new system. You will lose absolutely no data and the process takes only minutes.
- d) No servers set up in your school? That’s just fine! The LCS 1000 works in a normal server environment, or can just be staged in the cafeteria alone, connected to one computer that wants to do it all, or as many computers as you need to get it all done. The perfect answer for any school, large or small.
- Automated Backups – “Valuable” doesn’t even begin to describe your lunch accounting information, and losing any of it is not an option. With this in mind, we are including the peace of mind that only automatic backups can bring and then taking it a step further. Not only will the LCS 1000 back up it’s information every day, but it will also upload it to the Wordware Inc cloud servers as an extra level of protection. Your data will be safely stored in multiple locations, ensuring that you always have the ability to recover from any change in a matter of moments, so you always have a backup plan. Bottleneck of any Cafeteria is its seating capacity. Efficient management of tables thus becomes a necessity. A Cloud Based Cafeteria Management Software can aid in carrying out this activity and also manage advance reservations.
- Data Bridge – Our unique data bridge was developed to easily pull your student and family information from your SIS into Wordware so both systems contain the same information. No dual entry or manual effort is needed.
- Reporting– After rentals and labour, food costs are typically the largest expense for any Cafeterias. The food cost reporting of the Cafeteria management software can show you the actual vs predicted cost and the accompanying difference. This is done by researching on the cost variation in the same item offered by different stores along with a list of top and bottom pricing. These features become increasingly important in multi branch organizations. Reporting and Charts. We understand that food service reporting is critical to the administration and success of your schools. Not only does Wordware provide and extensive offering of reports in the software for cash sales reporting, free and reduced, line reports, etc. Wordware will work with you to make sure you are getting the information you need from your software.
- Product planning to decrease and nullify food waste – Wasted food is another critical cost center for a Cafeteria. The product planning report will give you a real-time measure of the amount of food that is wasted thereby contributes to lowering the waste generated.
- Labour Cost reports – The labour cost report is another critical aid you will get from the Cafeteria management software. It has the detailed information on your staffing and even goes up to the hourly, daily and monthly man hour utilization. With this report, your staff scheduling can be improved.
These are only a few ways in which a Cafeteria management software can aid you. The benefits of using one such software are multiple. If you aren’t using these functionalities of your Cafeteria management software, you immediately need work with your team, and study these reports and if you current software doesn’t provide such in depth reports, you many need to upgrade your software. Wordware’s Lunch cashier software has been implemented in . school cafeterias, college and universities, hospital settings and commercial building cafeterias in all over USA.
You can also talk to one of our Cafeteriamanagement software analyst for any assistance you will require Call: (800) 934-2621.
Public schools participating in the new lunch program offering Free and reduced meals, To “Do Lunch” means to let go of responsibilities, forget school rules and to socialize extensively for short time. But when you let them stand in separate lines for lunch, poor in different and rich in paid row make system questionable. It is also important that student can find ways for relax and respecting others. Some students behaves well and some behave badly but in the time lunch staff can judge personality of students as there is short time and they have to do their lunch lots of discussion, gossips etc,. A controlling leadership style invites rebellion, resistance, and a lack of self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation and social interest. And to manage time and manpower we have developed a solution which is a result of continuous 25 years hard work.
The largest of the federal nutrition assistance programs, to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). But the stigma remained, as it did for the NSLP—the second largest of these programs—which serves free-and-reduced lunches to more than 31 million students annually.
There were separate lines for paid and free lunch in most of the schools. Many students would rather forgo their midday meals than take the walk of shame in the NSLP line. In one line cash-paying students waited to enjoy a wide selection of à la carte, or “competitive,” foods. In another, low-income, mostly minority students stood single file to receive prepackaged free-or-reduced meals supplied by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).To get rid from this we designed application so that any student can take lunch from any of the counter by using their ID. Counter supervision will be guided for service to be provided for the students like paid, reduced or Free.
In survey they found that one-third of school districts had separate lines or service areas for NSLP and competitive foods in high schools nationwide.There were schools using diffent diffent application for their lunch program to offer NSLP and to maintain their records for claim, how so ever we have solved this problem with LCS1000 MayFlower. You can manage free and reduced meals from supervision or admin login.
There are strict rules for standards on the nutritional requirements of NSLP meals in schools and not allow non compliant food. Also schools’ internal accounting is often not kept separate, so we prepared data bridge to share data from one section to other and make Sync between data and accounts. Sync easily moves anything, anywhere – all the benefits of the cloud, none of the limitations, available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
We offered solution for integrating the lines by bringing competitive foods into compliance with NSLP nutritional requirements. It was very difficult to distinguish between prepaid cards and NSLP funds when Uniform debit cards was replaced by lunch line. The bookkeeping also changed. Whereas before, NSLP and competitive-food revenues had been lumped together, they would now be tracked independently.
The pilot survey was record breaking more and more school are enrolling for NSLP and school revenue are increasing too. Lunch lines were similarly integrated in all Minnesota middle and high schools during school year. Official say “ this is the most effective and fast implementation we have done.”
Due to latest changes happening in more and more school cafeterias across the country. Cheaper and better technology is allowing the broader use of online money transfer debit system, lunch accounts and fast services. New rules on community eligibility based on a district’s SNAP enrolment are poised to go nationwide in the coming school year, which should make the NSLP available for more students and potentially reduce the stigma.
Based on survey other schools in USA are also implementing Lunch Cashier System more than 100 already working on Wordware’s Lunchroom system.
Lunchroom System, Lunch service feedback, how are we doing?
We use an automated Point Of Sale (POS) lunch system LCS1000 MayFlower in the Hershey Public School District. Each student has a lunch account and student from same family have a Family Account. This system allows students to “bank” money in their account. Money in this account may only be used for lunch and ala carte items. To access a student’s account, we use Family ID. Free and Reduced student information is automatically in the School Cafeteria POS system. A new free/reduced application needs to be submitted every year. All information on an account is confidential. – Hershey Public School District
We invite Parents/students to checkout our services and give feedback so that we can better serve you. We appreciate your insight.
The Wordware mission with Lunch Cashier system for School District ‘s is to actively contribute to the health of children, district staff, lunch cafeteria staff, students and other eligible customers by preparing, marketing and food service cafeteria software application.. Nutritious meals will be offered at a free and reduced price for eligible students while maintaining a financially accountable program.
Wordware Lunch Cashier system assists with your staff and parents to the new lunchroom software and is always here to help with any questions that may come up encounter while the process or after implementation Schools quickly learned how helpful our team is from the beginning and they are pleased with the technical support being provided by wordware’s experienced and dedicated technical staff. Wordware Support Team set up the software for the schools and provide training to your school staff up to the level they needed to learn the ins and outs of our school cafeteria software. From the launch of the new software, School Food Service Directors, was happy that Wordware Lunch Cashiersystem would be an excellent fit for the children in their school.
“The implementation team and trainers did a great job getting us set up and ready for the first day of school,” say many of our valuable customers. Furthermore, their Staff have not encountered any problems, but they called for general questions. Customer care representative attends the phones calls promptly and guide them with confidence in using the lunchroom management software than before. They all are extremely satisfied that with the of wordware customer support team.
“There are many reasons why using Wordware for our lunch software has made my job easier. The remote support and ticket system have been a life saver on many occasions. The Direct Certification is simplified and the Free and Reduced timeline has kept me on track. The upgrade to the LCS1000 Mayflower has everything I need on the family dashboard for quick and easy reference. There are letter templates that can be customized by you and the numerous reporting options available are a tremendous help in documenting the daily and monthly transaction activities.” – Jean Erd, School District of Menomonee Falls
The Lunch Cashier System by Wordware, Inc. is a complete, affordable, user-friendly meal accounting system for schools, including back-office and point-of-sale management software. Lunch Cashier System is one of the Top Food Service Management Software. They provide comprehensive solutions to both school administration and food service staff. Computerized Lunch Program for school cafeterias, State and Federal reporting. Parents only need to send lunch money to one family account for all family members participating in the lunch program.