Online ordering is a relatively new concept for schools, but it’s quickly gaining traction as many school districts are seeing positive results with it. Implementing an online ordering program can have many benefits, both for your district community and for your foodservice operation. This post will give you some practical insights into the value of online ordering for your school meal program. For more detailed information, check out our eBook on this topic.

1. Pre-Ordering

As a busy foodservice professional, you’re likely looking for ways to save time, streamline your operations, and expedite cafeteria lines. Online ordering, with pre-ordering functionality, can help you do this! When students can order their meals online, they can plan for the next day or even the whole week. Additionally, when students pre-order, they can skip the long line and grab their meal on the go freeing up time for things like homework.
Pre-ordering functionality doesn’t just benefit students, it benefits staff as well. When a long cafeteria line looms, teachers are more apt to bringing their lunches from home. But, if they can pre-order and grab their lunch by skipping the line, staff will be more likely to take part in your food program as well.

2. Customization

Consumers are used to the ability to customize their food orders and this is rapidly becoming the case with food programs in schools. Instead of students holding up the cafeteria line asking for meals that fit their needs, online ordering allows students and staff to customize their order from their computer or mobile device.

Food allergies and sensitivities are becoming more and more prevalent and with the ability to order online, students can filter their food options to browse meals that meet their needs. This makes them more receptive to order their meals at school leading to more revenue generated by your food program.

In addition to catering to food allergies, an online ordering program can also speak to the picky eater. Whether it’s a certain type of bread or extra meet on their sandwich, consumers can personalize their meals with the touch of a button. And the great thing about this is that your staff can make these meals ahead of time cutting down on long lines.

3. Streamlining Operations

Your foodservice program is tasked with the need to cut costs, increase productivity and cut down on food waste all while keeping students and staff happy. No pressure, right!? But don’t worry, online ordering can help you do all these things with advanced insights that you’ll get about your food program.

When students can order ahead of time and customize their orders, staff has more time to prepare the food. Also, knowing ahead of time which meals will be ordered, you can plan accordingly so you waste less food.

4. Parental Involvement

Sometimes the reason that parents pack lunch for their children is so that they can know what their children are eating for lunch. However, with online ordering, parents and kids can sit down and order their meals for the next day or even entire week. When parents feel like they have a pulse on what their children eats, they are more likely to have their children order meals at school.

With a secure payment option in your ordering functionality, parents can also pre-pay for their child’s meals so they don’t have to worry about sending their kid to school with lunch money every day.

5. Time Savings

As we discussed, online ordering functionality allows students and staff to customize their meals, skip lines and pre-plan meals which all leads to more participation in your food program.

Time is saved as a result of online ordering because there is a need for less staff to man the register when meals are being made ahead of time and are being pre-paid for. So, you can see that even with increased participation that results from online ordering, schools are actually saving time on meal prep.

Also, did you know that having an online ordering portal saves time because your staff doesn’t have to print out menus?

Do you have any questions about implementing online ordering into your suite of offerings at your school’s foodservice program? We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments below!