In September 2014, free meal provision was extended to include disadvantage students in further education. FE institutions would be paid a rate equivalent to £2.41p per student, per meal.
Queen Mary’s College, is a co-educational sixth form college, situated in Basingstoke. The college recognised they needed a robust and easy to use solution to record free meals served to entitled students. Queen Mary’s had tried a voucher system but found this insecure, difficult to report on and had noticed some duplications.
To start with, Queen Mary’s were only seeking a solution to improve free meal management. After discussions with MonitorIT the college realised they could extend the use of their student ID cards to improve their existing cashless catering, streamline free meal management and integrate other solutions they already had, such as print management and access control systems. Students would use only one ID card for catering, printing or entering the college buildings. Additionally, top-up kiosks already in place, students currently used these to top up their print accounts, could be used to top-up their catering accounts as well. Taking this approach would give the college a simple integrated system that protected and enhanced their existing investments.
Using Monitor Retail has overcome the problems encountered with the voucher system and ensured free meal recipients are discretely identified at the iPOS tills, and as all students use their ID card to pay for meals, any possible stigma associated with receiving free meals has been removed. Service times in the canteen are significantly quicker as cash usage has been minimised. Using Monitor Retail’s reporting tools gives scheduled weekly reports that deliver accurate information on free meal quota uptake and meals served.
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