In case you missed it, our last blog post covered everything you need to know about how digital labels work – it even mentioned the best locations to use them in foodservice operations!

But what about your specific labeling needs in higher ed? What’s the best way to use them for your college or university’s benefit?

That’s what we’re going to break down in the rest of this post. Then you can envision exactly how and where these small but mighty labels would improve your operational efficiency and customer experience.

Here’s how you can use digital food labels in your college or university foodservice program: 

Residential dining halls 

You likely have lots of signs in your dining halls that you have to rewrite, cover up, or completely reprint and replace on a daily or weekly basis. Why not swap these out for digital food labels that take on this work for you? In fact, they can do them better.

Use digital labels on serving stations and serving lines, even next to self-serve areas like soda dispensers and ice cream machines, to convey relevant food item information and reduce the work your staff has to do to keep this information up-to-date

This is especially important if you’re using these signs to ensure the health and safety of your students based on the foods you’re serving. For example, if you show the name of the food item along with potential allergens, these characteristics can be recreated on digital labels instead.

Have calorie sensitivities in your student body? Beyond glanceable food information like name and allergen or dietary icons, you can generate and show a QR code to link a student’s mobile device to more nutritional information on each item. A QR code is best for institutions who’ve chosen not to show calorie information due to triggering factors for some students, but who still want them to have easy access to caloric content (micros, macros, etc.) and other available food information if they need it. 

4 Ways to Use Digital Labels in Higher Ed Foodservice: Residential Dining

Retail foodservice locations

One of the best ways to use digital labels is across your campus’ retail locations. These often include establishments like eateries, coffee shops, and national or local chains where students can purchase or transfer meal points to grab a bite to eat outside of residential dining halls.

More often than not, labels at these locations are housed in glass countertop cases next to items like baked goods, or attached to the glass as a full list of the case’s contents. You may even have coolers near the cash registers that have labels in front of each item, too. After all, labels are temperature tolerant just for instances like this!

Generally, labels in retail locations show food information at a glance, like the item name, price, dietary and allergen icons, and possibly even calories. These details can be displayed on either small or medium-sized digital food labels, and are helpful to your guests as they stand in line waiting to order their next meal or favorite new coffee drink.

4 Ways to Use Digital Labels in Higher Ed Foodservice: Retail Locations

Convenience stores

Don’t forget about your on-campus convenience stores! Some may even call them Grab-n-Go. These places carry items like water bottles, energy drinks, granola bars, sweet snacks, pre-packaged sandwiches and salads, ice cream treats, and more. 

Convenience stores probably take up most of your staff’s time, where managing prices on paper labels can often be a full-time job, especially due to supply chain shortages and inflation. However, swapping out all those static labels on your shelves and coolers can be a thing of the past with digital labels.

With prices changing sometimes daily on the items in your convenience stores, it only makes sense to swap from print labels to digital food labels to automatically push updates to the name and price of your products. No more running around each morning, or halfway through the day, to reprint paper labels for price changes that are out of your control and that make customers frustrated.

4 Ways to Use Digital Labels in Higher Ed Foodservice: Convenience Stores

Catering events

Finally, if your operation manages the catering services for your college or university, consider using digital labels for these events, too. 

Let’s assume you bring paper labels to all your catering events to set out in front of your dishes or serving lines to tell guests what's being served for their consideration. If your menu changes for each event, you’ll have to print new labels each time, and even if your menu doesn’t change, you might even hope your printed display labels look clean and unspoiled so you can just reuse them.

However, digital labels would eliminate the need for reprinting labels for each new catering event, wipe down clean without damage, and would definitely look nicer than reused pieces of paper. You’d simply need to sync your labels with the relevant menu’s food information in the office where your base station is, then bring the digital food labels to the event with table-top display hardware (included as attachment hardware options).

4 Ways to Use Digital Labels in Higher Ed Foodservice: Catering Events

In the end, using digital labels will significantly reduce the amount of time your operation spends on replacing static, print labels across all four of these types of locations and uses. You’ll see not only greater efficiency across your team, but you’ll also see happier, informed customers who no longer have to worry about inaccuracies on your labels.

What other benefits could you ask for?

Learn more about digital food labels!