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Kent State autonomous store

Kent State autonomous store uses campus cards from CBORD for entry, payment

New shopping experience removes need for cashiers and POS devices

CampusIDNews Staff   ||   May 23, 2024  ||   

Kent State University’s Flash Bistro is a grab-and go store that offers snacks and light meals.

These days, the meals seem even lighter as students enter the store, pick up their food, and exit without interacting with a cashier or self-checkout device.

With the help of Kent State’s transaction system provider, CBORD, students to present their campus card – the FLASHcard – at the entry gate. If the card is accepted, the barrier bar raises allowing entrance to the bistro.

Once inside, the student makes their selections while a series of cameras and sensors track the purchases.

Unlike many autonomous stores that utilize a QR code or dedicated app for entry, Kent State uses their existing campus ID cards for entry and payment.

As they exit the store, the charge is automatically billed to their campus funds or declining balance account. An itemized receipt is sent via email following the transaction.

Limiting personnel required to operate the facility, enabled dining services to greatly expand the hours of operations.

“Our Flash Bistro will more than double our current weekly operating hours, opening early in the morning, much later in the evening, and even on weekends, when we are currently closed,” says Jacob Kuehn, Kent State’s senior director of culinary services.

Kent State University's FLASHcard

In an KentWired article, Laura Roach, Housing and Culinary Services Associate Director says, “in addition to the anticipated new variety of snacks and beverages, the store will also be open on Sundays, and its hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.”

“It will be exciting for students to enter the space anytime the building is open for business,” she adds.

Unlike many autonomous stores that utilize a QR code or dedicated app for entry, Kent State uses their existing campus ID cards for entry and payment.

CBORD's GET platform processes transactions and serves as the hub for viewing receipts, transaction history, managing funds and receiving push notifications for entry and exit.

“This integration underscores CBORD's commitment to innovation and providing seamless solutions that enhance campus life,” says Dan Park, CBORD’s president and chief executive officer.

Beyond extending hours for students, Kuehn says the change will also expand dining option for people attending events, lectures, and activities.

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