7 Ways to Keep Your Cafeteria Systems Happy This Summer

Posted by Aaron Thein on May 29, 2015 3:11:29 PM

7-ways-to-keep-your-cafeteria-systems-happy-this-summer

With the end of the school year upon us, now is the perfect time to make sure your front of house (Point of Sale) and back of house (Menu Planning, Inventory) systems are ready for their long summer slumber.

You may have been asking yourself, I'm done serving... now what?  Don't worry, you're not alone! Here are 7 things you can do to keep your cafeteria systems happy this summer:

1) Update Your Software

Many vendors, including Heartland, release new versions of their cafeteria software before the end of the school year.  Getting this installed now, ensures your systems have all the latest fixes/enhancements and remain compliant with ever-changing goverment regulations. Typically, you will be notified when new versions of your software are available, but you can always check with your vendor just to be sure.

2) Backup Your Data

Making manual backups of your system data is always worth doing.  But at the end of the school year it's even more valuable.  Over the summer months, many school Technology Departments update server software, migrate servers, etc. that can impact your system data.  This is not to say that your data is not in good hands with your Technology Department, but things can and do happen.  Manual backups are easy to perform and can save many headaches when you come back from summer break should something happen.

When backing up your system data, we suggest:

  • Saving it to a local computer or removable memory stick/hard drive.
  • Write down the location where this was stored and when the backup was performed so you can find it quickly.
  • Should you take this data off-campus, check with your Technology Department first to make sure they don't have a policy that prohibits this.

If you're using a hosted solution, like Heartland Mosaic Cloud, your system data is automatically backed up and protected from any loss.

3) Print and file annual school year reports

Sometime a good old-fashioned hard copy report is worth saving.  Use this opportunity to print out and store any system reports you think are valuable.  Especially, those used in the event of an audit.  Here's some of the information we suggest printing:

Point of Sale

  • Student balances
  • Monthly Claims
  • Monthly Sales

Inventory

  • Item quantities on-hand

4) Perform an End of Year roll over

Many cafeteria systems require you to perform a year end rollover.  This process typically creates a manual backup of your data, closes out your reporting for the current school year, and adjusts your student data in preparation for the new school year.  Check with your vendor to see which programs require a roll over and, if possible, complete it now instead of when you come back for the new school year.  However, if you use your point of sale system for a summer feeding program you may want consult with your vendor to determine when it's best complete this process.

5) Disable online payments

Does your district allow parents to make meal payments online through services like MySchoolBucks?  If so, you may want to consider disabling the service during the summer months.  This not only prevents parents from inadvertantly making meal payments, but it also stops these payment services from sending out low balance email alerts when it's not needed.

6) Catalog your hardware

If your POS terminals and pin pads get stored away from the serving line during the summer:

  • Label your computers and pin pads/scanners so you know which cafeteria and serving line they came from.
  • Take a photo or make a note of how the pin pads/scanners are connected into the computer.  If you have an IT person to do this... even better!
  • Cover or box up the computers and pin pads/scanners and store them in a dry/cool place.  This prevents dust and moisture from making it's way inside the delicate electronics of your cafeteria hardware.

7) Plan ahead for next school year

  • If you have new staff starting, check with your vendor to see if they offer any training opportunities to get them up to speed.
  • Coordinate with your Student Information System (SIS) admin to find out when you can get an updated list of students to import into your POS system
  • Think about other system changes you might need to make (e.g. meal/item prices, reimbursement rate, charging limits)

Topics: School Payments, Point of Sale software