Why do schools need queue management?
Transforming the lunchtime experience post-lockdown
One thing that is seemingly unavoidable in day to day life is queuing. Be it at the supermarket, post office or dry cleaners, waiting lines happen everywhere, anywhere and to anyone. Yet one place in which queues are in surplus and yet hugely unacknowledged or addressed is in schools. Despite sometimes being as disastrous as in retail, queuing in schools is rarely discussed.
The first contact with queuing in schools happens as students are trying to enrol and stretch their time in education to queue for mealtimes, school trips, registration and more. The biggest offender by far is the day to day slog of mealtime queuing in schools. Long waiting times matched with only a short period in which to eat makes lunchtime queuing something that needs to be addressed and improved for the benefit of staff and pupils.
The age-old custom of waiting in line wastes the average person up to two years of their life, according to a study by Casumo, and although saying goes 'time is money,' time is also time, something which students can't afford to waste. A student's priority is to study, and with a solid queue management system in place that follows strict social distancing rules, pupils can use the time saved for more essential school matters.
What are the results of poor queue management in schools?
A secondary school in London found this out the hard way, as its pupils were shunning food in a school canteen and instead were favouring the option to leave school grounds and purchase their lunches rather than queue for the school meals provided. This kind of 'out-of-gate' spending can mean students are consuming unhealthy foods for lunch, which the school cannot fully control. Unhealthy lunches are one of the main contributors to childhood obesity and poor nutrition in children.
Lengthy waiting times for lunch isn't an issue confined to smaller state schools either and arguably, somewhat worse than the out-of-gate junk food purchasing seen in London. In Neath, South Wales, pupils of a £40m Baglan Bay High School have waited throughout the entire lunch break and had to go back to class on an empty stomach.
What are the solutions for better queue management in schools?
Introducing cashless catering software such as AMI's Transact meal ordering and registration for primary schools is revolutionary in cutting school lunch wait times. Allowing pupils to pre-order their lunch choices via an interactive whiteboard or the teacher's PC enables younger pupils to select their food in a fun and interactive way.
After placing the order, the pupil's lunch choice is sent to the kitchen to be prepared for when they arrive at the dining hall, reducing the need to queue whilst pupils make their lunch choices.
Other solutions to reduce school queues include AMI's ID management system and contactless cards, enabling schools to reduce contact at lunch whilst ensuring pupils abide by new social distancing measures. This software offers real-time database sync from the MIS system, meaning there is no chance of mistakenly missing students, with all applications managed through one central database.
ID management software, including AMI's Identity Management solution, identifies students through their contactless cards to make payments, gain access to areas, reset passwords and much more, saving vast amounts of time and resources during the mealtime rush. Queue management software leads to more efficient waiting times, organisation, and simplified identity management.
By using a cashless catering system and ID management software, schools can generate reports to show what food has been ordered and keep track of food wastage at the click of a button. This functionality gives schools control over the content of their pupil's meals, benefits their budgets (by avoiding unnecessary spending) and allows them to be environmentally sensitive by not contributing to food wastage.
Whilst a more efficient waiting area layout partially solves queuing controversy in schools, which will improve as more schools place ordering and collection points around the school, the core problem lies in queue management. The solution, therefore, is to invest in a queue management system for schools.
It is not enough to say that schools need queue management to ensure their students eat correctly and on time. When social distancing and minimal contact are key, cashless software is crucial to protect pupils and reduce the risk of germs spreading as lockdown measures ease, and pupils return to school.
Visit here to learn more about AMI’s full range of cashless catering and Identity Management solutions.
Popular reports downloaded from ami Education’s Infinity+ cashless system.
Catering reports offer valuable insights for schools. From using food ordering reports to improving the decision-making process when planning menus to free school meal usage insights, utilising this type of information plays a significant role in helping schools to improve processes for future investments.
There are many ways reports from cashless software, like Infinity+, can help caterers learn more about the business. Infinity+ offers fully automated reporting, with the ability to download reports into Excel. Infinity+ enables schools to gain insights faster, make informed decisions, and help increase school meal uptake.
By using the Infinity+ cashless catering system, caterers and schools can download reports such as free school meal usage and meal uptake. These reports give caterers the upper hand in knowing important information, like how many school meals to prep for each day, which meals aren’t selling well, and more. Understanding essential data like this helps caterers reduce the amount of wasted food, which trickles down to saving money and time spent ordering new stock.
There are ten popular reports from Infinity+ cashless that schools and caterers use to make informed decisions, helping them save time on banking activities and understand sales trends.
The ‘catering report’ is the most popular report used by ami Education customers. The report gives the caterers the resources to break down transactions by period, account type, and amount of supplement spent at multi-establishment sites. Caterers can get an in-depth overview of school lunch transactions, helping to predict ordering trends from pupils. An overview of school lunch transactions is vital, as it lowers the chance of food waste and knowing what stock to order for the future.
Sales Mix Report
Knowing the number of products sold can significantly increase the understanding of favoured food/drink items. The sales mix report provides caterers and schools with an overview of the number of products sold, split by product categories during a specified date or time frame. Utilising this report can save caterers and schools the manual process of working out sales at the end of the day, week or month, allowing them to compare product sales to previous months.
To see the eight other popular reports used by schools and caterers, download our top 10 Infinity+ Reports guide to learn more!
Integrated Chip & Pin is now available for schools! We are delighted to announce that Ami Education customers can directly facilitate fast, automatic card payments effortlessly with our Infinity+ cashless system.
Launching integrated Chip & Pin to the education market
Schools can now accept all major forms of payment, including debit and credit cards, contactless payments, and Apple Pay and Google Pay. This means schools can expand their catering offering to parents, guardians, and school visitors without being registered in their cashless system.
The benefits of integrated card payments for schools
The integrated solution automatically displays transaction amounts on the payment pin entry device (PED) at the PoS for seamlessly quick payments. Furthermore, all card payments are consolidated as part of your cashless takings report, giving schools one true source without the need to manually add up card payments separately at the end of the day.
The key features and benefits of Chip & Pin include:
- Fast and secure payments
- Remove unnecessary payment barriers to help increase catering uptake
- Supports all major card payments and Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Reduced human error in payments and reporting
- Consolidated cashless reports, with no manual adding up at the end of the day
"Here at Ami Education, we are delighted to announce the release of our integrated Chip & Pin functionality to the education sector. This is a feature that our customers, particularly sixth-form colleges and secondary schools, are excited to integrate with their Infinity+ cashless solution, and I am so pleased to announce that we've done exactly that!
This launch will change the world of cashless catering, and it's all down to how we listen, engage, and deliver to our customer base. Massive applause to everyone involved and a big thank you to our customers."
- Ash Grabowski, Business Development Manager at Ami Education
Impact of integrated Chip & Pin
Here at Ami Education, we help schools deliver a quick and consistent school meal service through our cashless catering technology. This new Chip & Pin integration with our Infinity+ cashless solution allows schools to boost sales with increased uptake of catering at school events and parent evenings and by opening up their catering offering to visitors. There are enormous time and monetary savings in switching to this integrated method, especially for our customers currently utilising 3rd party Chip & Pin payment providers.
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