In an interesting twist, a tech services provider for K-12 districts, charter schools, and continuing education programs has come up with a school lunch application that blends a mobile app for rating and feedback with digital signage menuboards in lunchrooms.
Harris School Solutions (HSS) says EZSchoolLunch “uses emojis, meal ratings, and other features to get students as engaged with their School Nutrition program as they are with social media. Based on these ratings, the school then can use analytics to plan their menus better by including items the students enjoy more, helping to boost participation levels.”
“EZSchoolLunch is so well thought out and simple, yet provides powerful, otherwise-unavailable analytical information for the school,” says Dean Rallo, Executive Vice President of HSS’ School Nutrition Solutions (SNS) unit, in a press release. “The combination of a mobile app for the students, a website and analytics for the school, and the communication of information that can be displayed on the digital signage in the cafeteria truly does make lunch time interactive.”
The software enables food service directors to customize their cafeterias’ digital signs with school colors and logos, and update menus remotely with real-time announcements and promotions. The content also pushes out to the mobile apps.
EZSchoolLunch also features a carb counter, which allows school nurses or parents to look at the menu items being served and easily calculate nutritional information such as total fat, sugars, or sodium levels consumed by a student that day. Students also can use the tool before ordering to assist in selecting and understanding the overall nutritional value of a meal beforehand.
I like the menu management capabilities of the app, and think a system that’s already in place in a lot of schools may be more attractive than a signage CMS provider from outside trying to crack that market. The challenge on the mobile side of this is to get kids to use it. Parents, sure. But it’s fair to question how many 11 year olds are going to whip out their smartphones to look up nutritional information as they wander up to the lunch counter. Probably something close to none, unless they have medical issues.