Schools have a lot on their plates when it comes to meal management. Success lies not only in the food but the service.

Mealtimes provide a perfect opportunity for schools to promote healthy eating. Given almost 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to 1 in 3 when they start secondary school, good nutrition has never been more important.

In this way, school dinners can have a profound impact on student wellbeing.

An effective and efficient kitchen is key to making lunchtimes a positive experience for students. But achieving a seamless school dinner service is no mean feat. Managing payments, bookings and orders can be a logistical minefield.

What’s more, tightening budgets, limited resources and ever-changing dietary needs make mealtimes increasingly harder to coordinate.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easier way for schools to manage mealtimes? Well, Schoolcomms Dinners helps schools do just that.

Schoolcomms Dinners is a cost-effective meal management solution designed to significantly reduce the amount of time and effort it takes for staff to organise mealtimes.

Here are 5 ways you can use Schoolcomms Dinners to increase meal uptake, reduce waste and save valuable time.

1. Set up frictionless payments for parents

With Schoolcomms Dinners, parents can pay wherever and however they want, be it by card, bank transfer or PayPoint. This reduces the risk of school dinner money going missing (or being spent elsewhere) – a welcome relief for all parents!

Better still, since Schoolcomms Dinners is so simple to use, parents are far more inclined to book meal orders each day. For many schools, increasing meal uptake is the ultimate aim so this is a massive plus.

On top of this, going cashless not only makes for a speedier service but a safer one too. According to scientists at the London Metropolitan University, banknotes and coins are a breeding ground for bacteria.

With this in mind, removing cash from your school can help reduce the risk of contamination and better protect the wellbeing of your staff and students.

2. Enable flexible booking options

With Schoolcomms Dinners, parents can order meals online or via our app in advance. This not only makes life much easier for parents, but the school kitchen too. Kitchen staff can receive meal numbers well in advance, enabling them to significantly reduce food waste.

Additionally, schools can easily upload menu choices for parents to select at the time of booking and can even set a cut off date for bookings to be made.

As a result, staff need no longer chase money or dinner choices. Instead, schools can send meal choices directly to parents who are then notified of any outstanding payments or bookings.

And that’s not all - if parents don’t want to book online, staff can sign-in and make meal selections in collaboration with students from the school office. This allows pupils to make informed decisions about the foods they eat.

3. Manage costs

With Schoolcomms Dinners, parents can easily see how much money is owed, making it easier than ever for them to keep on top of outstanding payments.

Dinner money debt has proven to be an ongoing challenge for schools. This needn’t be the case. With Schoolcomms Dinners, schools can better track and monitor parent spend.

As such, staff can send automatic reminders to parents, gently nudging those who are prone to forgetting to top up their balance. As parents are always able to see their account balance in the app, schools needn’t send any statements.

Food pricing need no longer be a difficult balancing act. With Schoolcomms Dinners, different meal choices can be charged at different rates making costing simpler than ever.

4. Coordinate free school meals with minimal hassle

Our intuitive module syncs directly with SIMS on each import, pulling through all 'free school meals' and 'UIFSM' data while amending the costs for parents. This enables schools to identify eligible students instantly without compromising anonymity.

5. Access online reports

Access to accurate, up-to-date data is essential to improving efficiency both in the kitchen and the office. Schoolcomms Dinners provides a full range of reports, including meal uptake, meal balance, and transactions, saving you time and money while reducing food wastage.

For many years, we’ve been helping schools up and down the country transform the way they manage mealtimes. Whether you want to maximise the productivity of your kitchen or simply go cashless, we can help and we’ll be here for you every step of the way.

To find out more about our powerful meal management solution, fill out our form to get in touch or book a free demo here.