How to reduce over-catering in schools
Reducing food wastage and increasing school uptake
Over the last three decades, the UK has seen some of the steepest education cuts, making it increasingly difficult for schools to balance their books. One of the most significant potentials for loss is mealtime and food ordering.
The introduction of the School Food Plan and universal free school meals means school kitchens are under pressure to provide healthy, nutritious meals within the government set allowance. Therefore, with over-catering being the potential source of profit loss, avoiding producing excess food must be a key consideration for schools.
What are the effects of over-catering in schools?
The biggest issue of over-catering in schools is without doubt wastage, both food and money wastage. Menu choices can significantly impact the efficiency of the school’s catering budget. For example, if the school has too many options on the menu and is over-ordering food, many items may have low take-up.
Therefore, the school is likely spending money on food ending up in the bin. Streamlining the menu by adopting pre-ordering systems, like ami’s Infinity+ cashless software, including the Infinity+ Order pre-order app, can help reduce food waste and save the school money on the cost of supplies.
As pointed out by Birmingham.Gov, catering staff in schools generally have information on the number of pupils they are cooking for, but, in most schools, they have no information about the specific numbers for each meal option. Although they are skilled at estimating how many children will choose each meal, they have no way of knowing the exact numbers, and this lack of information can result in food wastage.
Automating food orders within schools
With a system that allows pre-ordered school meals, children and parents can choose their preferred meal option each day, allowing catering staff to have an exact idea of the meals needing to be catered for, eliminating the element of waste.
As mentioned by Key Support, without software such as ami’s pre-ordering options, waste is one of the biggest things driving high school catering costs. Schools can’t refrigerate and reheat food once cooked. Instead, schools end up throwing away any uneaten cooked food.
Marcus Orlovsky, a Tedx host on education and real estate, believes that one way to address this problem is by taking a restaurant-inspired approach to catering. This approach means that food is only taken out of the refrigerator when needed, reducing the likelihood that excess cooked food will be thrown away and allowing schools to put those ingredients to use another day.
With the money and resources saved from using a pre-ordered school meal system, the school can invest in better, healthy, locally sourced food and ingredients, meaning better and more nutritious school meals for students and staff.
With ami’s cashless software, free school meal (FSM) anonymity is maintained through a standardised cashless catering system to pre-order and collect food. This anonymity reduces FSM stigma and allows these pupils to enjoy the same lunchtime experience as their peers. Only the head and the school bursar will know which pupils qualify for free school meals, meaning no roll-call, colour-coding or separate queues.
In an age where food wastage and sustainability in education is more important than ever, schools must be aware of their impact on the environment and look to ways to minimise wastage and consequently increase uptake. With existing pre-ordering software that eliminates unnecessary waste, such as ami’s Infinity product, now is the time for schools to adapt to the
Get in touch to learn more.
The Schools & Academies Show is an exciting event that brings together education professionals, school leaders, and decision-makers across the UK. The show serves as a platform for showcasing innovative solutions, such as cashless catering, and sharing best practices in the education sector.
Amidst the buzz and enthusiasm, ami Education had the pleasure of exhibiting at the event alongside Tucasi, payment and administration software providers.
Infinity+ Cashless and Chip & Pin live demonstrations
At the Schools & Academies Show, ami Education proudly showcased the Infinity+ Cashless catering system, revolutionising cashless processes in UK and international schools.
The live demonstrations highlighted the seamless and efficient point-of-sale experience, impressing attendees. This smart system manages student accounts and processes orders at the point of sale effortlessly, providing a convenient and secure dining experience. Visitors learned about the extensive reporting suite, offering insights from free school meal usage to catering reports and discovered how to harness this data to streamline operations and reduce administrative tasks.
Furthermore, ami Education debuted their highly anticipated Chip & Pin technology, which received a positive response at the event. Popular amongst sixth forms and secondary schools, attendees experienced the contactless solution and appreciated the availability of multiple payment methods. Attendees saw first-hand how ami Education’s Chip & Pin terminals optimise the dining experience and empower educational institutions to streamline operations and provide a seamless payment experience.
“Our POS software is evolving with features such as Chip & Pin and additional features. But the next big thing we’ve got to do now is go cloud-based.”
- Tony Reeves, General Manager.
Infinity+ Order receives positive engagement with attendees
Alongside the Infinity+ Cashless & Chip & Pin demonstrations, ami Education was excited to showcase its cutting-edge Infinity+ Order pre-order school meal app at the Schools & Academies Show. The demonstrations highlighted how students could seamlessly check balances, browse menus, and conveniently pre-order their meals from their mobile phones.
This revolutionary app transforms how students order their meals, ensuring efficiency and convenience. With Infinity+ Order, pupils have easy access to a wide range of menu options, the ability to pre-order meals in advance, and the flexibility to customise their choices based on dietary requirements or allergies.
The Infinity+ Order app empowers staff to efficiently manage meal preparation and reduce food waste by accurately anticipating meal demand. This topic was very relevant at the show due to the current challenges schools and academies face. The app lets pupils control their dining experience, ensuring they receive their desired meals quickly and conveniently.
“Schools are starting to like the pre-order solution, as they can allow pupils to pre-order up to three weeks in advance. Pupils only have to go to the till point and collect their meal.”
- Tony Reeves, General Manager.
ami Education’s participation in the Schools & Academies Show at the London Excel was met with excitement and enthusiasm.
The Schools & Academies Show served as an excellent platform to showcase our solutions, and we are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to positive change in school catering. ami Education remains dedicated to driving innovation, fostering positive experiences, and propelling the education sector forward.
|To gain further insights into the exciting world of ami Education, watch our exclusive interview with Tony Reeves, our General Manager. In the interview, Tony delves into groundbreaking innovations, transformative approaches, and the future of cashless solutions in education. This interview provides a deeper understanding of our commitment to advancing education institutions.|
If you couldn’t attend the event but still want a demonstration, don’t worry! Book a demo with our team today to learn about implementing cashless catering, pre-ordering or Chip & Pin software in your school. Our team are here to provide all the information and support you need.
We are delighted to announce that ami Education will be showcasing our Infinity+ cashless catering product suite at the upcoming Schools and Academies Show in Excel, London, on May 17th.
Explore Our Infinity+ Cashless Catering Product Suite
We are excited to join forces with school admin and online payment provider Tucasi at stand G16 to demonstrate our integrated cashless and online payment solutions for schools and academies.
During the event, we will showcase our Infinity + cashless catering product suite, including brand-new Chip & Pin payments and pre-order meal app, designed specifically for secondary school and sixth-form students. Attendees will benefit from a first-hand demonstration of our cashless software.
“We can’t wait to team up with Tucasi to bring our integrated cashless solutions to the Schools and Academies Show. As one of the key events in the education calendar, the show will offer an excellent chance to provide real-time demonstrations of exciting new developments from ami Education and, importantly, connect with professionals and find out more about their school needs and discover how we can support their development plans.”
-Tony Reeves, General Manager at ami Education.
Discover the Latest Cashless and Online Payment Solutions
The Schools and Academies Show is a great opportunity for schools and academies to discover the latest technology and products for the education sector. At ami Education, we are excited to showcase our unique product offering which combines our Infinity+ cashless system with a comprehensive reporting suite, pre-order and payment options, and fast speed of service, all fully integrated with Tucasi’s SCOPAY online payment app.
Whether you want to streamline your cashless payments, improve your catering service, or simply want a faster, more efficient payment system, our solutions are tailored to meet the needs of schools and academies of all sizes.
Book Your Ticket
You can book your free event ticket for the Schools and Academies Show here. If you are attending the Schools and Academies Show, visit our team at stand G16 to learn more about our unique cashless and online payment solutions.
For those who cannot attend the show but would like to learn more about our cashless solutions, please book a demonstration with our team.
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