June 19, 2020 Hangry

Residence Dining Hall Reservations to Help With Social Distancing

When it comes to a residence dining hall, you may think it can be a bit more tricky to incorporate mobile ordering as opposed to a retail location. We’re here to tell you that’s not the case!

Residence dining halls can benefit from mobile ordering just as much as retail dining. Especially as we navigate the current pandemic, mobile ordering options have become essential. We’ve seen many campuses discuss that they will likely be offering more pre-packaged meals. They’ve also discussed altering self serve stations to have them manned by employees. Both of these scenarios lend themselves perfectly to mobile ordering. Through our app, we support different tender types – meal exchange, declining balance, cash equivalency. Your students can simply place an order from the campus app, and pay with their campus cash. You can include as much or as little variety in the app as you choose. If you still need to offer the ability for students to enter the dining hall – read on!

Residence Dining Hall Reservations

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve now added reservations and capacity capabilities to our platform. You may still be offering in person dining in your residential dining halls – but with some adjustments. One of these adjustments may be wanting to take reservations in order to prepare in advance, and limit the number of students in the dining hall at any given time.

With our platform, you can set a dining hall to accept reservations through the app. This allows campuses to accommodate social distancing by setting a max occupancy with pre-determined periods. Students would make a reservation in the dining hall through the app, whereby you could accept payment or simply take the booking without payment. Each of these reservations can have a set time block, so the student is allotted a specific amount of time in the dining room before they need to exit. Each of these reservations will show in our merchant software, which you can have displayed on a tablet or desktop.

Once the student arrives for their scheduled time, you can have them scan their QR code to verify their identity and check-in for their reservation. Upon exit, you may also choose to have them scan to check out. From our merchant software, you have a tally showing exactly how many students are currently checked-in, so you can keep an eye on capacity.

Operational Flow

When it comes to operations, there are plenty of ways to set up the dining hall flow. You could cordon off zones, and direct groups of student to each zone in order to keep them together for their scheduled time. Afterwards, staff can sanitize before the next group comes in. If you have enough staff on hand, you could allow everyone to sit as they please. As for capacity, you can go with either the approach that reservations are mandatory for everyone, or do a split with room for walk ins (i.,e. 80% reservations, 20% walk-ins). There are many ways to set this feature up, we’ve only done a brief overview! if you have questions or comments, contact us so we can show you how to make it work with your unique location.

For more articles on social distancing, head over to our dedicated blog section.

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