Jocelyn Levy
3 minutes length
Posted: 2nd November 2020

School Canteen Problems and how to Solve Them

When running a school canteen, schools can run into a number of problems that stop them getting the most out of their service. It’s a real game changer and difference maker when schools get canteens right though. It’s well worth serving up a great canteen experience, because well-fed students are students ready to learn and succeed.

School canteen queues

For students, the number one school canteen problem is and always has been queues. In the average six-hour school day, that hour of lunchtime break students get doesn’t feel that long. The last thing students want to do is spend their precious time away from classes, standing in an overly long queue. There are friends to talk to, footballs to be kicked, or maybe even lunchtime clubs and groups to attend.

The most important problem to eradicate in a school canteen is these queues, and the best way to do that is by moving to a cashless catering solution. When payment for meals is taken care of beforehand on an online account and all that is needed is a scan of a biometric or smartcard to authenticate payment withdrawal instead, queues are sped up and waiting times reduced, with kitchen staff worrying less about money collection and more on serving students.

School canteen usage

Queues are the biggest problem in the school canteen for students who use the service – but arguably the bigger overall problem is that simply not enough children are using the school canteen. Improving queues can help attract more students to the service, but there are other ways cashless catering can help combat the issue too.

For a start, a cashless system lets parents track their child’s use of school catering online. Many children might be given school lunch money, but unbeknownst to their parents, spend that money on other food elsewhere instead of the school canteen. An online system with no cash involved ensures parents see their money go where it is intended. They can check withdrawals are being made from the account and therefore that their child is using the school canteen.

Children entitled to free school meals are also more likely to use the school canteen when a cashless system is in place, as the stigma for collecting a free meal is reduced. No one can tell who is on free school meals and who is not when the whole system is cashless.

School canteen efficiency

A school canteen is a service schools have to run, there’s no choice about that, therefore schools should endeavour to run them as cost efficiently as possible. But some school canteens can be a bigger drain on resources than needed.

cashless catering system like BioStore’s FasTrak can help avoid that. Pre-ordering and end of day reporting give kitchen staff all the statistics, tools and evidence they need to make more informed decisions about the service they provide. With greater data analysis, kitchen efficiencies and stock management can be improved, cutting costs and reducing waste.

With cashless catering, schools can eradicate many of the problems canteens face. It can turn a canteen from a source of issues, to a positive influence on a school, helping to improve the healthy culture and level of focus in afternoon classes.