Better application for time management

Helping University of Rhode Island students better manage their time was the top priority for Shaun Kavanagh, senior information technologist for dining services, and his team as they set out to develop a new mobile application for the department. “We saw a need,” Kavanagh explains. “More and more people aren’t going [to their laptops] for information, they’re going to their smartphone.”

The team used a plug-and-play web-based tool to build the application to allow mobile access to services already available on the dining services website. Now, students can add money to their dining services accounts, check the arrival status of the campus shuttle and even get a real-time view of the line at the dining halls from the convenience of their phones or tablets. “We have cameras that allow students to view the line going into the dining hall and how crowded the dining hall is,” Kavanagh explains. “Overall it’s been pretty popular and allows students to manage their time better. They can, coming back from a class, check to see how long the line is to get in and if it’s too long make a couple stops along the way and hopefully catch it when it’s a little shorter.”

Launched in March 2014, the free application currently has more than 2,400 users, the bulk of which Kavanagh estimates to be students with a campus meal plan. “But the shuttle service brings in students that don’t necessarily have a meal plan, [so] it exposes them to our menus, it shows them our dining halls, even if you’re just using the shuttle GPS tracking. It was a way for us to tie that all in.”

After gathering user feedback, Kavanagh and his team are already working on version 2.0, he says. Updates will include more features to help students manage their time even more effectively, like cameras that can count guests as they enter a location so students can get a more accurate estimate of time to service based on the number of people in the dining hall. The addition will “give [students] some kind of tool that will allow them to predict when the dining hall isn’t going to be busy and better utilize their time,” Kavanagh explains.

time management app

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
millennial employee handshake

Boy, is it ever fun being a member of the millennial generation. On the one hand, there’s a bevy of seasoned bosses and co-workers who typecast us as lazy, easily distracted, entitled upstarts who don’t value older generations’ experience. And on the other hand, there’s an economy that we entered at the exact wrong time that—while it is recovering—required us to settle for less pay and fewer benefits at the beginning of our careers, stunting our growth trajectory right from the start. (Whoops, there I go playing right into our complain-y stereotype.)

Like us or not, the millennial...

Ideas and Innovation
fidget spinner

While they may be a nuisance to parents, restaurants are finding an unexpected use for trendy fidget spinners. A chef at Houston seafood spot Reef posted a video to Instagram to show off the new technique: dripping sauce over the toy while it’s spinning on a plate to make creative designs.

Sponsored Content
ballpark stadium food trends

From Bush’s Best ® .

Whether it’s at a college or university, a minor league game or a major league game, sports stadiums offer an array of delicious foods that sports fans love. A look at what’s happening in stadiums’ food offerings spotlights a few trends that foodservice directors should keep an eye on and adapt for their own menus.

1. More pork options

According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, powered by Ignite, instances of pork on stadium menus have increased 33% year-over-year. Going ultra-indulgent with pork is trending, too—Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., serves...

Sponsored Content
blended burger mushrooms

From The James Beard Foundation.

Blending meat and mushrooms in burgers and other iconic foods is a major trend heralded by a number of trendsetters and publications.

As many know, this trend was started by college and university chefs and dining directors because they could create better burgers (and meatballs, tacos and meatloaf) by blending at least 25% ground mushrooms in with beef. These operators knew that “the blend” was better-tasting, better for the environment, better nutritionally and better for holding because of the juicier texture.

In return for being...

FSD Resources