Jim Dillingham, president of Vend-ucation, a Goffston, N.H. vending consultant who specializes in school vending programs, said one challenge of incorporating vending machines with point-of-sale management software is for the system to verify the identity of the purchaser. In the case of Northwest Missouri State, the machines were integrated into the school’s Ethernet LAN.
Dillingham noted there are several point-of-sale management systems serving schools and institutions that could integrate vending machines, and the lack of industrywide standards among hardware providers for POS systems and vending payment mechanisms presents a challenge. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do,” Dillingham said.
For more information, contact:
Horizon Software International, 800-741-7100
The Wittern Group, 866-657-7549
Meal tracking and vending help schools receive federal meal funds
Software systems that incorporate vending machines in foodservice management, similar to the one used by Northwest MIssouri State University, have enabled several secondary school systems to participate in the federal National School Lunch program and at the same time qualify for funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Vending machines are being used to identify students, authorize transactions, dispense healthy meals, chart nutritional consumption and compile data for compliance with the reimbursable meal program.
There are several options for vending machine-based student identification, including: pin pad readers, magnetic strip card readers, contactless card readers, biometric readers, and smart card readers.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a one-time appropriation of $100 million is available for equipment assistance to school food authorities participating in the federal National School Lunch Program.