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Forging a new dining experience at Midland University

Lucova system redefines campus POS operations

From a student’s perspective, it’s more than just having that cashier know a student’s name. The cashier can also inform students if they’re down to their last meal or if their low on funds as they pass through the line.

“When we went into it we weren’t seeking more technology solutions in the dining hall, we were really looking for a food-service partner to improve our dining experience,” explains Benjamin. “But this has really risen to the top as something now, in hindsight, we see a ton of value in. This system is arguably in front of our students as much as any of our faculty is.”

This all went from a functional, tactical way to track meal plans, to now being so valuable that we’re changing other, non-related business functions to accommodate the dining experience.

The dining experience truly is king at Midland. In fact, the university had long used its dining hall as the pinch point for students that were delinquent on fees, hadn’t paid a bill, or were otherwise on the “naughty list.” But the new FIIT POE system, and the friendly atmosphere that it’s given rise to, have made it to where the university doesn’t want the dining hall to carry that negative connotation anymore.

“This all went from just a functional, tactical way to track meal plans, to now being something so valuable that we’re changing other, non-related business functions to accommodate the dining experience,” says Benjamin. “We’re making unintended operational changes like using athletic coaches and practices as pinch points instead.”

Mobile ordering

In addition to dining hall access, Lucova’s app supports mobile ordering. Midland has deployed this in a limited fashion for on-campus orders, but the response has been significant nonetheless.

“Our Warrior Grille features a limited menu and we enable mobile ordering for food and Starbucks,” says Bejnamin. “Students can order a burger and fries or a coffee, for example, before they arrive on campus and that meal can be waiting at the window where they can pick it up.”

Midland is currently supporting mobile ordering exclusively at the on-campus Warrior Grille location, with no plans to expand as of yet. “Mobile ordering is exclusively tied to the meal plan and student dining dollars,” explains Fresh Ideas’ Lensmeyer. “With the university’s location, and distance to surrounding merchants, there aren’t a significant number of off-campus locations to expand to at the moment.”

From an operational standpoint, Fresh Ideas worked with Lucova on an algorithm that fits with university staffing practices. “The Lucova app times mobile orders out in a way that doesn’t stress our employees where they all of a sudden get 20 orders at once,” says Lensmeyer. “Orders are spread out, and students are informed of what their wait time will be. If a student can’t or doesn’t want to wait, they can simply cancel their order with no problem at all.”

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