May 29, 2020 Hangry

Social Distancing for Campus Dining

Customers sit in a cafe where social distancing between patrons has been enforced by placing white tape over unavailable tables and chairs as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

When considering how the pandemic will impact higher ed campus dining, below we’ll outline a few things to think through.

Configuring Traffic Flow and Dining Room Setup

It doesn’t come as a surprise that traffic flow and dining room set up will need to be adjusted. Previously, anyone could walk in as they pleased. During social distancing initiatives, it becomes imperative that campuses take a more hands on approach to the dining space.

For some instances, it may be appropriate to offer pick up only. In this case, a mobile app would be a beneficial addition for the process. Users can place their order, be notified once it’s ready, and then pick it up at a designated location.

As for the physical dining space, we’ve heard plenty of options. From limiting the number of people allowed into the space, to directing the flow with one way traffic, and specifying only a certain number of sit down tables (if any). Check out our article on residence dining to learn more about how we’re helping campuses navigate residential dining. This quick video below walks you through the process of reserving a spot in the dining hall. By scanning a barcode you check in, and then scanning on the way out to check out.

Campus Dining Payment Options To Enforce Social Distancing Measures

Technology is another important aspect for payments. In many places, cards or mobile wallets are currently outperforming cash. You’ll want your campus to be able to accept these tenders to best accommodate students and staff. A mobile app comes in handy here as well, since users can link their payment method and pay via the app. This once again limits staff exposure to potential hazards, and simplifies the dining process. Since the meal has been paid for, staff and students can skip that step in person for the time being.

Establishing Dine-In Reservations For On-Campus All-You-Can-Eat Venues

With high volumes dominating many campus dining areas, it will be important to limit dine-in options. A campus will simply no longer be able to accommodate people in their dining locations simultaneously. Some ways to handle this would be to limit the number of diners by offering them dine-in reservations. This is a great solution to control traffic, while also preventing the frustration of long line-ups. We’ve recently released feature customizations to support this use case. Read all about it in our residence dining social distancing article. For more articles related to social distancing, check out designated blog section here.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


Hangry provides campuses with a cross-functional, branded mobile app that includes modules for: food ordering, dietary filtering, nutrition tracking, campus-wide loyalty & rewards, rich-push marketing, announcements, surveys, and feedback. Built by us, driven by you, trusted by your users.

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