Local District Action Inspired

Touch-screen kiosks are improving traffic flow and boosting sales at the Univ. of Tampa's Spartan Club—to the tune of 1,000 orders per day (20% more) and weekly sales exceeding $3,000.

Called Grill Online, the kiosk and ordering system feature uniquely designed menus, ordering screens and interactive assistance to customers placing orders for eat-in or take-out. Students can order everything from plain burgers to Buffalo and Cajun chicken burgers, chicken and cheese quesadillas, onion rings and fries, etc.

If you build it: The kiosk was so popular that a second one was soon installed to alleviate wait-times. Both were relocated from the ordering counters to a table 15 feet away, adjacent to the cashier. Officials at Sodexho, which runs foodservice at Tampa, say the kiosks help maximize the retail area's limited space.

Students can use their meal plan dollars for a pre-set combination meal, or pay with cash or credit cards. "We soon hope to accept payment at the kiosk," says Adrian Reyes of Sodexho.

Online ordering for Sizzling Salads, an entree salad concept, along with two national franchises is planned. "The technology is definitely customer friendly, entertaining, fun—not to mention cutting labor expenses by up to 9%."

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

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A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

According to FoodService Director , 77% of college and university operators purchase their gluten-free...

Industry News & Opinion

Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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