Hospital Foodservice Technology: From Cafeteria POS to Inventory

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Hospital cafeteria technology has transformed the way we dine at hospitals.

The traditional cafeteria dining experience of hot plate food paired with a simple cash register has grown into an immersive, healthy, diverse dining experience powered by the latest and greatest in hospital foodservice technology. Within a hospital, the cafeteria often acts as a communal place of activity. For some, cafeteria visits occur multiple times a day as breakfast, lunch, and dinner are enjoyed. For visitors, the hospital café can be an escape from patient rooms or hallways for a quick coffee or a hearty meal. 

In the past, both the quality of food and space design in hospital cafeterias have been heavily scrutinized by patients, guests, and staff alike. However, hospitals are increasingly investing in technology to help them revamp dining experiences from the food on the plate to the check-out experience. From a food sourcing perspective, some hospitals turn to food service management companies to help them deliver their dining experience, while others go the self-operated route to help bring diners through the door.

Regardless of whether food service is contracted or done in-house, technology tools are being used in hospital cafeterias to help drive revenue and manage operations around the clock. Check out our list below to see some of the most in-demand technology tools for hospital cafeterias in 2022:

Payroll deduction – for contactless & convenient payment 

Hospital operators were quick to see the immense opportunity in implementing payroll deduction, which helps the large captive hospital cafeteria audience spend less time in line, spend more money on each transaction, and enjoy convenience. The technology used to power this can be more straightforward than you think, as many POS companies offer some level of payroll deduction nowadays, and can make use of existing cards or badges. Here’s generally how payroll deduction works:

  1. Hospital employees sign-up to enroll in the program.
  2. The POS solution automatically and continuously imports a list of employees that are part of the program, with their badge or card numbers already assigned.
  3. Enrolled employees use their card as payment in the cafeteria, no credit card needed.
  4. The amount spent across the payroll period is deducted from the employee’s paycheck in accordance with the payroll period.

By allowing employees to use their badges to pay, there is no longer a need for staff to carry a wallet – helping them save time and energy. Hospitals also benefit from these programs, as tap and go payments made with employee badges can be quicker than credit cards with manual entry.

Inventory management technology with recipe costing – for better profit margins 

With hospital cafeteria food being transformed from bland to bold, chefs have found themselves increasingly able to use their creativity when delivering food in healthcare establishments. With this comes the need for technology tools to help with inventory management. There are many components to inventory management including:

  1. Tracking wastage and spills
  2. Using and managing first-in and first-out procedures with food storage
  3. Evaluating best and least selling items to make menu-related decisions
  4. Tracking food costs down to recipe and ingredient level to analyze margins

Food service businesses who invest in proper inventory management and tracking are more likely to flourish, especially amid rising food costs.

Contactless, pre-order, and self-serve technologies – for more ways to pay & increased revenue streams 

Digital ordering, self-serve kiosks, and contactless payments have all revolutionized the check-out experience in cafeterias. This article dives specifically into how these technologies can help reduce lines and make a more efficient check-out experience, but in a nutshell: the traditional model single cashier-operated POS terminal model is becoming less popular, with many businesses struggling to find and maintain staff. Self-serve and digital technologies are a great way to help ensure that diners can still happily and easily pay for their meals amidst the lack of staff.

Selecting technology for your cafeteria is not always an easy task. With budget constraints, a variety of options, and a long list of requirements, it can be daunting. We’re happy to help consult on your hospital cafeteria needs and craft a great technology solution that works for you. Click here to connect with us.

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