Operations

3 reasons to consider upgrading ID technology

Between menu planning, budgets and the myriad other concerns FSDs face, it’s easy to overlook the simple ID and/or cash cards issued to diners. But making the choice to upgrade technology can unlock the potential of these once-humble cards: They can be room keys, event tickets and, perhaps most importantly, a needed additional layer of security.

hand chip card

That’s the future of student IDs at the University of Notre Dame, which will switch from magnetic strip cards to chip-based ones in August 2017. “Traditionally, the ID cards have been used as point-of-entry access for dining operations,” says Notre Dame Director of Campus Dining Chris Abayasinghe. “But they’re about to be a lot more.”

Security for customers and the organization

With high-profile hackings dominating the news cycle, it’s no coincidence credit card issuers are also switching to chip cards—they’re more difficult, though not impossible, to copy compared to the magnetic strip.

“As an operator, you want to make that investment to keep both your organization and your customers secure,” Abayasinghe says. “You hear about the Target breach, and you realize there are a lot of potential bad actors. At any organization it’s a best business practice to get ahead of the curve.”

Cards as replacements for tickets, keys and more

Noncommercial operations—whether schools, B&I or others—can replace several utilities with cards. At Notre Dame, chip cards will not only serve as students’ ID and dining cash, but they’ll also replace tickets to campus events and even dorm room keys. “It’s going to streamline several processes for us,” Abayasinghe says.

Several new options exist—but consider the needs of today and tomorrow

To decide what Notre Dame needed in a new card system, members of several campus staff groups assembled: dining, residence life, security and safety, IT and more. Abayasinghe recommends other operators avail themselves of colleagues’ expertise when considering the existing options. “This is definitely a decision you don’t want to make in isolation,” he says. “You need to think about a system that will give you several benefits today, but also scale up for your future.” 

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