Case Study

Smart Technology Speeds Up Lines At A Busy University Cafeteria

Source: Epson America, Inc.

Chartwells is a recognized leader in contract foodservice management, managing dining environments at more than 270 colleges and universities nationwide. President and CEO of the company’s higher education dining services, Steve Sweeney, has built the brand around Generation Z, which has replaced Millennials on college campuses. “With its extreme affinity for technology, Generation Z is described by thought leaders as ‘over-connected, yet under-related,” notes Sweeney. Chartwells dining programs are meant to bring students together inside social spaces to nourish and inspire. So it was not surprising when the company rolled out some cutting-edge technology in the University of Utah student cafeteria. Chuck Weaver is the director of catering there. He’s an industry veteran, with over 25 years in higher education dining across the country, including Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Texas.

Hot Spot

Weaver told us that classes let out at the same time, so the cafeteria experiences waves of students all at once. Approximately 1,500–1,700 students eat at the cafeteria every day, with the busiest time being between 11:45 –1:00 pm. Within five to ten minutes, long lines form and there is limited time for everyone to be served. With multiple stations serving various food items, the lines created a bottleneck in the order-taking process. It was becoming very difficult to get orders into the kitchen fast enough to serve everyone expediently.

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