Tips for a successful school startup

Tips for a successful school startup
Sheri Pape

It’s time for kids all over the United States to go back to school for the 2022-23 academic year. While some schools have already started, others will open their doors over the next month. We know how important it is to have a successful, efficient start for your nutrition program and want to offer a few tips for your team to be more effective.

Here are some ideas to consider as you come back to school and reopen your cafeterias:

  1. Compile your support contact information.
    It’s been a while since most districts have needed urgent support for point of sale. Gather all support phone numbers, emails, and websites for your team. You can create a “cheat sheet” to be distributed to each employee and kept at each POS terminal. Read more on Horizon’s support portal here.
  2. Run student rosters.
    Make sure your SIS files are importing without error. Check with your district IT team what time of day your import runs and if it imports daily. Daily imports are crucial! Run paper rosters to post at each POS register in case of an emergency, power outage, or a new student who’s not listed in the system. And don’t forget a pen or pencil!
  3. Test your point of sale.
    Boot up all your POS terminals before the first day of class to make sure they are online and functioning properly. Be sure to test PIN pads too in case they need replacement.
  4. Consider using scanners.
    Scanning a student ID or meal card is much faster than having each individual student input a PIN number. Consider implementing scanning technology and ID cards or student roster sheets to speed up your lines and get students to the lunch table faster.
  5. Update reimbursement rates and menu prices.
    With federal waivers for meals ending and cost of food increasing, system prices likely need to be updated. Be sure to modify reimbursement rates, meal fees, and a la carte prices online, at your registers, and in your software.
  6. Remind cashiers of notices.
    Keep your team up to date on any changes to your processes. Remind them to look for allergy and account balance notices when checking students out. Also, train all cashiers on how to look up a student who doesn’t remember their PIN or student ID card.
  7. Make it easy for parents.
    There are several tasks that parents will need to be reminded to do again, including loading money for meals, fees, and activities in MyPaymentsPlus. Inform parents early and often about ways to make lunchroom payments, fee payments, register for activities, etc. through the online payment portal. Utilize our free MPP resources to help advertise to parents.

There’s so much to look forward to with a new school year. Have fun and enjoy your students! Remember that you are making an amazing impact in their lives every day.