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29 Dec, 2021

Canteen Management System: Top Features to Set Up Your Ideal Office Canteen

An Overview on Canteen Management Systems

Keep track of the food consumption in your company with an effective canteen management system. The traditional way of managing office canteens is quite chaotic, erroneous, and at the same time, sluggish. In the long run, such management practices, even if they are restricted to the cafeteria, can foster an impression of the company being negligent and insincere in its operations. It would be fair to say that transparency is the most important aspect of conducting business and no one would like to work with an organisation that doesn’t seem trustworthy. An automated or digital canteen management system provides you with the power of tracking every transaction to its source, maintaining flawless records, capping unauthorized usage, and advanced management features to make the experience of dining in the canteen better.

It is always better to have a heads up about the things we are going to indulge in. Reading this article will help you with information about essential features an ideal canteen management system should have, and this knowledge can further assist you in making the right decisions about installing canteen software programs in your company.

Key takeaways from this article

  • Why you should need canteen management systems?
  • How to organise and enhance canteen operations and get rid of confusions?
  • What an ideal canteen management software does?

Functions of Canteen Management Systems

To understand the features of an ideal canteen management software, we should first look at the function they have to serve. For employers or admins of the canteen, it should:

  1. Manage inventory by adjusting to adding, removing, and updating the current stock items
  2. Edit menu items for the day as per customizations,
  3. View all the placed orders, and
  4. Track usage by employees’ identity/canteen cards.

For the employees or users of the canteen’s facilities, it should:

  1. Display items being served by the cafeteria for the day,
  2. Place an order either with prepaid payment, cashless cards, or pre-programmed coupons (for visitors), and
  3. Receive notifications from the system on the estimated time of order preparation.

In work environments with a time crunch, people don’t even think about eating food, let alone order complete meals. Spectra’s canteen management systems simplify the processes of ordering, payment, and choosing from random menu items by specifically displaying the items available in real-time with the time limits.

Features that make your canteen an efficiently run department


Cashless canteen management systems

With cash transactions limited only to recharge counters, employees can use their prepaid meal cards to order food and get e-receipts simultaneously without having to carry their wallets to the canteen every time. This automated framework doesn’t only save efforts but also controls price manipulation by vendors as the transactions get recorded digitally as per the pre-programmed prices. These same facilities can also be structured for post-paid meal cards where the employee can be sent a monthly bill for his/her canteen usage. For security, the card can automatically be put on hold by the system until the previous invoice is cleared.

Additionally, with self-service kiosks in the canteen, employees can also track their usage and recharge their cards using credit/debit cards. This further does away with the option of handling paper currency. This approach is also recommended for companies that are actively advocating environmental safety and want to reduce wastage of resources as much as possible.

Biometric canteen management systems

Biometric devices installed for access to the canteen as well as to mark the employees’ attendance/presence do away with the possibility of errors in meal distribution or usage of canteen’s facilities. For example, if employees have been assigned 30 minutes of recess, the biometric canteen management system can track the “in punch” and “out punch” of the employee, recording the actual time the employee spent in the canteen. This discourages people from loitering around in the canteen without purpose and also helps maintain the security of the area. If using touchless biometric systems, the spread of infections like Covid-19 can be avoided especially if visitors are also using the canteen.

Customizable menu and food scheduling

When a diverse group of people is together for a meal, it becomes very important to cater to varying tastes. Features to customize the canteen’s menu facilitate this to a great extent. The employer or admin should have to option to create menus and the users should be able to easily scroll through the items. Visibility of specific menus on specific days, also different menus visible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can make things easier for both the employees and the vendor. The admin should also be able to easily schedule the menu according to special occasions and events.

Easy settlement of vendor’s bills

A smart canteen management software should have the option to associate each item on the menu with specific vendors with full value and subsidized value to reduce the employer’s headache of sorting through bills even further. A well-structured, organized way of maintaining the canteen’s data will ensure no wastage of food or finances, no manipulation of meal prices, no proxy mean orders, etc. This is a very useful feature for large organizations with multiple vendors.

Detailed reports with insights

An ideal canteen management software stores every detail of the canteen’s transactions from employees to visitors to vendors, the daily and monthly food consumption, related expenses, and all other big and small transactions. A digitalized system will keep all this data safe in a cloud or server that can be accessed anytime by authorized admins. But, just storing information isn’t enough; it should be organized in a comprehendible manner for the users to understand the working of their cafeteria. Canteen management systems should have options of multiple types of reports that give the owner useful insights about how his/her canteen is being run. These reports should automatically adjust to the transaction happening in the canteen so that whenever someone views them, they get real-time information.

Food Planning

“To win a battle you need a battle plan.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a start-up company or an established organization; you always need proper plans to be implemented and enforced. With canteen management systems, you get food and resource planning done in such a way that leads you and your organisation to success in no time.

Canteen management systems help an organisation to become adaptive and flexible to cafeteria operations. This enables the organisation to run its cafeteria as an independent department that operates smoothly and efficiently on its own. To wrap it all in a nutshell, the following tasks should be fulfilled with a canteen management system:

  • Food and meal management so that not a single resource is wasted
  • Scheduling day-to-day meals as well as special meals for festivals
  • Customizable menu planning to cater to all preferences
  • Refund facilities in case of transactions made for items out of stock
  • Automatic updating of reports in real-time
  • Secure way of storing canteen’s data for easy accessibility and audit trails
  • Cashless transactions for quick processing

Why Choose Canteen Management Systems?

Just as the kitchen is called “the heart of the home”, the canteen can be called the heart of a workplace. It is very important to maintain this facility well if you want to run your organization smoothly. A well-built management system needs a lot of features to work efficiently. Even with such features, good is never good enough if you don’t incorporate the right ones that your organisation needs.

A canteen management system is nothing new in this era and every organization is aware that it should have a well-structured system of its own for each department. However, being aware and not having the direction to optimally utilize resources are two different things. Building perception based on the latest technological trends and the correct operational practices can help you make better decisions regarding access control management systems for your offices or manufacturing units.

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