The CNYRIC Food Service Technology Support Team
Our objective is to remove the technology and administrative burdens from a school district’s food service program. We accomplish this by providing integrated hardware and software solutions specifically tailored to the K-12 food service environment. We then complement that with phone, email, and direct-to-the-desktop support, hardware and software maintenance, ongoing training, sharing of relevant information that has been curated and interpreted just for our customers, user groups, and comprehensive end of year and start of year processes as required by the vender and state.
Needs Analysis / Upgrade Recommendations
Prior to adopting a food service system (or switching to a different system), our team examines your existing operation to determine the best solution for your needs. We will help you determine ways to incorporate any existing hardware to keep costs low. Our analysis will also include the physical arrangement of your cafeteria to determine if there might be adjustments that will minimize costs and deliver a more streamlined and fluid operation. Currently, our team supports NUTRIkids and WinSNAP/WebSMARTT products.
Initial and on-going training opportunities help to streamline cafeteria and food service management activities. Training is crucial to your success. Every new customer receives training covering the new hardware and software, tailored to match the role each employee plays in the food service system. When the system goes live, our team is on-site standing side-by-side with your team as meals are served. We answer questions and guide the actions of your team so that they are able to develop a connection with the new technology that smoothly gets them through the end of the day. Expect us to be at each cafeteria line for at least the first two days of your implementation.
Our team is also available to provide task specific training at any point during the year. Whether helping new employees or getting you through a new feature of the system, we will teach the required skills. Our training materials are developed specifically with our customers in mind, avoiding the often confusing documentation provided by software vendors. Training materials will also comply with your district policies and procedures.
Training can be conducted on-site or using our remote control tools. Using these tools we are able to view the screens of the food service technology and guide your team through the skills they need to acquire.
The most often used service we provide school districts is our technical support. We are available from 8 am (most often earlier) through 4 pm to answer your phone calls. We will make every attempt to handle your issue in that moment, but also have direct access to product manufacturers if the issue requires their intervention. We are also able to remotely take control of the hardware in your district so that immediate and direct support can be provided to you. We treat all of these situations as learning opportunities for your team to help bring about a greater understanding of the hardware and software. Our team is also always monitoring email for messages from our customers. If the issue is not urgent, often email support is sufficient and we make every attempt to respond before your team leaves for the day. There are no restrictions on our technical support services available for your district. All of our support activities are tracked in an on-line help desk system so that no issue is ever overlooked. To make sure you know we are addressing your concern, the system delivers email whenever there is a change to the status of the issue.
A cafeteria is a pretty rough environment for high tech equipment. Our solutions have been tested in these situations and deliver a very high degree of durability and consistent performance. If something should break, we have equipment available to keep you running while the broken equipment is repaired. Replacement hardware is available within 24 hours. However, we always make every effort to provide equipment within a shorter time period.
As needed, we will also be on-site to perform general hardware cleanup and any necessary maintenance. This is known to prolong the life of your technology investment.
We work with product manufacturers to review and then update the products whenever a new release is made available. Our preliminary testing assures updates work as expected. Any changes to the software are documented and turned into quick, user-friendly training materials for the people within the district who are impacted by the updates.
As needed, we will also be on-site to fine tune the software on the systems used by food service managers. This keeps your technology running smoothly.
Start of Year / End of Year
Late August and early September are especially hectic for food service personnel. The CNYRIC team conducts all of the tasks that are suggested by the vendor, plus we add in our own to make sure that your food service lines are ready for the arrival of students. Our goal is to make that first day as smooth as possible. Some of the tasks we conduct are:
Make complete backups of your system databases;
Import all of your student information;
Verify income guidelines;
Update menu items to match your needs;
Update meal prices as requested;
Review and update all menu board layouts for cashiers;
Verify all classroom and teacher information within the system;
Update the reimbursement rates for the new school year;
Thoroughly review system security settings to add, update, or delete personnel information, ensuring that everyone has appropriate security levels and role assignments;
Run data verification testing to assure systems are completely ready to go.
In addition, once student photographs are available, we will install them so that they begin appearing at each point of sale.
As each year concludes, preserving your data is critical for future reference and reporting. Our priority is to work with you to save the special reports you may need, help you clean up any accounting issues, and identify anything else we can assist with. We conduct all of the end-of-year tasks suggested by the manufacturer, plus we add in a few of our own that have proven helpful to districts through the years. Our goal is to work with you to get your financial books properly closed so everything can be reset for the year ahead. Some of the tasks included in this process include:
Schedule appointments to work directly with food service personnel to help them through the end of year process;
Produce and save end of year Accounting reports;
Verify that all student balances are carried over for next year;
Create backups of all databases;
Run the end of year processes required within the food service software;
Create year end archives to be used for future reference;
Set eligibility cut off dates for last years applications and temporary applications;
Clear existing serving line and administrative notes within the database;
Prepare the database if you are hosting a Summer feeding program;
In addition, our technical team will access each cafeteria workstation and run any software updates or operating system patches.
Technology Team & Manufacturer Support Liaison
The CNYRIC food service team makes sure to get to know your district technology staff and to include them in any discussions about the food service technologies. These district technologists play a key role in the success of your food service program. We make sure they know us and have a good working relationship with us so that we are all working together on the success of your solution. We act on your behalf with these individuals so that you can stay focused on food!
We work very closely with each product manufacturer, representing the interests and needs of our customers in those discussions. With a large installed base of customers, we are able to leverage those relationships into strong advocacy positions with these companies. There have been many situations where our regional needs have caused necessary changes in manufacturer development and support activities.
The CNYRIC food service team assists districts and parents/guardians with any issues related to the online prepayment systems provided with these services. These services operate at no cost to districts and help to increase revenues, decrease bad check fees, eliminate low balance letters, and improve line speeds by reducing the amount of cash handling at the points of sale.
Up to three times per year, we prepare and host regional user group meetings. These meetings are scheduled at the CNYRIC and TST BOCES locations for the convenience of our customers.
The first meeting of the year, held in September, focuses on guiding your staff through the student verification process, NYSED reporting, and use of the direct certification matching tool. In February we address any issues that might have been encountered since start of year, we review important system reports and how to read them, and provide assistance related to the direct certification process. Finally in May, we focus these meetings on preparations for the end of year and start of year activities. We share any information we have about changes in software or new State requirements.
Prior to these meetings, we send questionnaires to your teams to seek information about their needs. These responses help us to form relevant agendas for these events so that everyone’s time is appreciated. They also help us to determine what additional training materials and events we need to develop to keep your food service operation running smoothly.
Ongoing Services & Other Benefits
There are other services that the CNYRIC food service team conducts on behalf of their customers as well as features of our service that simplify the work of the district food service teams.
One of these services includes the weekly reporting of food service information to the data warehouse. Free and reduced student data is extracted weekly, reviewed for errors by the CNYRIC programming department, then loaded into COGNOS for use by district administration.
If your district makes use of the School Messenger phone calling service, we will also work with you to establish a connection for this to your food service system. Once in place, this enables automatic calling about account balances, news, etc.
The solutions offered by the CNYRIC food service team are fully compliant with all USDA requirements. We are regularly monitoring the activities of the USDA to make sure that any new or changed regulations are available to our customers through these solutions.
The systems provide considerable collections of accounting and management reports. We work regularly with food service and business office personnel to make sure they are finding, using, and properly interpreting the reports they need.
Free and reduced meal options are included in all of our solutions. These assure secure and confidential application tracking and processing. They simplify the verification process and also assure confidentiality for these students as they pass through your cafeteria lines.
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At the point of sale, cashiers are presented with user-friendly interfaces that are completely customizable to the specific requirements of each district. Cashiers are also automatically notified of any low balances and, more importantly, food allergies a student might have.
Steven J. Tryon