Beechwood Independent Schools in Fort Mitchell, Ky., serving 1,100 students, has been using the Infinite Campus student information system (SIS) for several years, as it is the state-wide SIS for Kentucky. To maximize their Infinite Campus investment, Beechwood chose Campus Food Service to manage the cafeteria, streamline processes and improve parent communication. Within a few months the integrated solution saved staff time and district dollars.
Reasons for Change
Food service in a school cafeteria is one of the most time-sensitive operations in any district. Students line up with a limited time to buy and eat lunch and things must run smoothly. While using the Horizon-Boss Fastlane cafeteria data management system, Beechwood had terminals freeze and pin pads malfunction causing delays in the lunch line. Often, students chose to bring their own lunch, resulting in decreased lunch counts.
“We had a lot of hardware problems with our old system. POS terminals would need a reboot in the middle of serving. Vendor tech support was often unavailable and we would have to leave a message,” says Joetta Browning, director of technology and communication. “Our cafeteria manager works from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and would either have to stay overtime to wait for a response from the vendor or ask the vendor to call me, and I might not know what the problem was.”
Beyond the technical problems, having a different system from the district’s SIS meant wasting hours in data entry and data transfer, with no real-time account information at the point of sale. “Since using Infinite Campus, I don’t receive those panic calls in the middle of lunch saying ‘HELP!’” said Browning.
Solutions through Integration
Integration with Infinite Campus provides food service personnel with immediate, secure access to necessary account information. Cashiers can process transactions quickly. Revenues increase with a higher lunch count.
“Lunch service time is reduced with Infinite Campus. Students are choosing to eat at school because they can move through the lines quickly,” says Rita Behrens, Beechwood’s Café Manager. “The lunch count has been higher than ever.”
With fewer issues during service time, end-day reports are more accurate. Cashiers used to have to count all the money in the drawer by hand – from pennies to twenties – and input that into the closing screen before the legacy system would allow them to close their drawer. Any mistakes the cashiers might make on the lines (e.g., put in a check as cash) was laborious to fix. Behrens can now go into Infinite Campus and correct mistakes easily, saving time and ensuring accuracy.
In addition, using separate systems for the SIS and the point of sale required a lot more work when rolling data forward for the next calendar. The ability to roll-forward student data in one system saves staff time and eliminates the potential for data entry error.
Parents can view real-time information through the Campus Portal. As the in-district tech support, Behrens now receives half as many calls from parents asking for account balances and printouts of their child’s lunch detail. “Our parents access the lunch information on the Campus Portal, keeping them better informed,” she said. “They can see account balances and even what their child is eating.”
Making the Change
Changing to a new food service management system requires both accurate data conversion and effective training. Infinite Campus makes provisions for both. “Data conversion was easy,” says Browning. “The summer update went very well. Any problems were resolved with a phone call. Everyone from Infinite Campus was great.”
Training is important to the success of any new system. Without effective preparation in procedures and operation, no system will work well. Campus Trainers prepared Beechwood personnel for success.
“Training was very thorough. We had specific times for managers and cashiers so our cashiers were not here all day,” says Behrens. “The trainers were here on our first day live, which was a tremendous help. To be honest, I was apprehensive to change, but now I love it.”
Choosing Premium Value
When Beechwood made the decision to replace its legacy system, consideration was given to the total cost of ownership. The list of cost savings realized from using Campus Food Service was seen within months, including more efficient staff time, increased income from higher student counts, and more accurate state reporting.
By making the switch to Campus Food Service, Beechwood cashiers have reliable hardware that adds to the efficiency of lunch service. “Our café workers really like Infinite Campus. Now we only use one screen instead of two,” says Behrens. “Our lunch service runs better than it ever has. Close out is quicker and easier, saving everyone a lot of time.”
Reactions to an Integrated Solution
After one year of integrated café operation, Beechwood is enthusiastic about Campus Food Service.
“We are very happy that we moved to Campus Food Service. Parents appreciate having information available with one login,” says Behrens. “Because of Infinite Campus integration, student photos are updated yearly in just one system instead of two.”
“The hardware has been super,” says Browning. “Our cashiers have had zero issues using the software. The support we’ve received from Infinite Campus staff is great. I would strongly recommend Campus Food Service to all Infinite Campus customers."