PCS Software offers an array of foodservice solutions, including its EZeats meal machine. The machine was designed by IfeedU and is capable of dispensing both a la carte items and complete meals. It works in conjunction with the company's Web prepayment system (PayPAMS.com) and Fastrak business software.
The EZeats machine is intended to speed service so students can spend more time enjoying the meal, not waiting in line to be served.
Controlvend, Inc. relies on the Paykey platform as a cashless payment media for the company's Schoolvend application. The Paykey, a radio frequency identification (RFID) device, is configurable and reloadable and replaces cash for vending machine based transactions.
The Schoolvend system is centered on the schoolvend.com Website that allows parents to monitor and control what features are programmed into the RFID Paykey. The Schoolvend system starts with the foodservice operator providing a planogram or product map for items placed into a Paykey equipped vending machine.
Next, the parent can review the product plan and identify those categories or items deemed acceptable for purchasing. The system can then control purchases by allowable product choices, time of day, and total purchase amount, usually on a weekly basis. For example, five juices, three milks, and two bottles of water per week, or unlimited low-fat and organic snack products, but only three standard snacks per week. Reports can be generated indicating what products were purchased and when.
While there are several vendor programs that include vending machines in a technology configuration aimed at enhancing school foodservice delivery mechanisms, Horizon Software (HealthSmart), eSecure Peripherals (SnapPay), Vendors Exchange (StarFood), and PCS Software (EZeats) are briefly profiled below:
Horizon software launches healthy Child Campaign
Horizon Software International recently introduced the Healthy Child Campaign aimed at helping schools teach children about healthy habits, food product choices, and meal planning while enabling parental monitoring of student selections, nutritional content, and prepaid account review.
Part of the company's success is its creative machine placements outside traditional cafeteria areas. For example, locating a vending machine stocked with breakfast meals at the school bus unloading zone for added exposure, convenience and revenue.
The HealthSmart nutrition education curriculum provides teachers with background information, lesson plans, classroom discussions, student activities and worksheets. It provides a separate grade level program for K-12 classrooms and presents current nutrition and activity information in a fun format using videos, games and quizzes to reinforce learning.
The objective of HealthSmart is to educate children in the classroom about healthy eating habits that will enable them to make healthy choices in the cafeteria.
The Horizon OneSource is a foodservice management software application designed to manage aspects of back office and point of service operations. These enable users to plan healthy meals that meet federal guidelines for daily nutritional requirements. Nutritional analysis of meals can be performed quickly to help students receive proper meals and snacks.
Point of service software manages the payment aspects of the system and can display student identification photos, messages, notes, and dietetic information. Parents are able to block food choices based on preference or health conditions (allergic reactions) through the POS message system to the cashiers.
Horizon Healthy Vending
Remote machine monitoring is used to connect all vending machines to a central POS system; machines are described as OneSource Smart Enabled since they are unattended and rely on media recognition to identify purchasers and communicate selections to a database.
Parents can monitor purchases via Internet connectivity using child-specific information. Nutritional values of items in the machine can be viewed prior to purchase. Products appearing in the machine are the result of menu planning and nutritional analysis via OneSource. Machines can be configured as specialty product dispensers (e.g., meals, milk and beverages, a la carte, and meal components).