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How do you do....it? Thread, Questions to ask Cashless Catering suppliers - urgent! in Technical; We've got Gladstones coming in for a demo next week so some interesting questions to ask! Thanks. Out of interest, ...
  1. #16
    gumbygaz's Avatar
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    We've got Gladstones coming in for a demo next week so some interesting questions to ask! Thanks. Out of interest, we had Trust-E/Nationwide last week demo their stuff. Looks all very impressive and robust. Just wondering if you saw them at all and ruled them out for a particular reason?
    Cheers

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbygaz View Post
    We've got Gladstones coming in for a demo next week so some interesting questions to ask! Thanks. Out of interest, we had Trust-E/Nationwide last week demo their stuff. Looks all very impressive and robust. Just wondering if you saw them at all and ruled them out for a particular reason?
    Cheers
    Didn't see them, they were ruled out on the basis of "didn't respond to emails or phone calls", which was all the indication we needed tbh!

    Cunningham's seemed to offer better on-site support for launch week as well - e.g. C will send two bods down to do the biometrics registration with us, G will train us and leave us to it, C will have people on site for 5 days, G for 3... again, details, but after a time the small things add up. Worth asking about.

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    gumbygaz (18th March 2013)

  4. #18

    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Didn't see them, they were ruled out on the basis of "didn't respond to emails or phone calls", which was all the indication we needed tbh!

    Cunningham's seemed to offer better on-site support for launch week as well - e.g. C will send two bods down to do the biometrics registration with us, G will train us and leave us to it, C will have people on site for 5 days, G for 3... again, details, but after a time the small things add up. Worth asking about.
    Worth mentioning that this is all chargeable though, by day rate, usually. If you want somebody from the other companies to be there for 5 days, I'm sure they would be, if you paid.

    From what I've seen the costs for them to do the 'registering' of pupils is ludicrous. Find some internal resource to do it and save thousands seems to be the general way.
    Last edited by Edu-IT; 18th March 2013 at 12:53 PM.

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    john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Didn't see them, they were ruled out on the basis of "didn't respond to emails or phone calls", which was all the indication we needed tbh!

    Cunningham's seemed to offer better on-site support for launch week as well - e.g. C will send two bods down to do the biometrics registration with us, G will train us and leave us to it, C will have people on site for 5 days, G for 3... again, details, but after a time the small things add up. Worth asking about.
    That is very surprising and shocking when I procured my cashless it was your other partner that needed poking with a stick to respond not NRS. The NRS system was much better value than Cunninghams for us and linked in well for all our needs and seemed a much better product and more polished. I also know of a couple of school who are not impressed with Cunninghams and are looking at leaving to NRS so I would say poke them again and get them out as that is not how they do business.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    I can give you the details of the guy I've been dealing with at NRS if you like.

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    Cunninghams were very good throughout the whole process and they had a couple of guys on site while we did the biometric enrolment. It took a couple of days or so to do the entire school and was pretty painless. As for the costs of the systems, they were also the cheapest.

    The back end software does seem to be a little home brew for most of these companies but ours seems to work and hasn't crashed or burned yet!

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    sonofsanta (19th March 2013)

  9. #22

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    With our intended timescale we simply don't have time to talk to NRS now, I'm afraid; the Bursar is off this week, next week is half a week and mad busy (Head Girl handover assemblies and House Choir contests and all sorts) and then it's Easter and half the stakeholders aren't in. We need a decision by the end of the holidays in order to launch in the final half term (when Year 11 and Year 13 are gone, so gentler on us, and avoiding the September rush).

    It frustrates me how rubbish a system salespeople are for actually evaluating a product. There should be a better way

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    I owe an update to this thread, for future searchers and current contributors.

    Having said what I said in my last post about no time, Nationwide cold-called our bursar to ask if we were considering a cashless system. Long story short, they had an initial quote to us within half an hour of the phone call and had re-arranged their calendar to get a meeting with us squeezed in on Thursday. And I'm glad they did.

    Where Cunningham's and Gladstone's both seemed entirely capable and competent systems, and either one would have worked well, the NRS system seems much more complete - more of a Kitchen Management System built around cashless catering, rather than _just_ a cashless system. If the data is available to the system - and NRS will do the initial gruntwork there - it can monitor stock levels based on what food you've made, alert till operators on specific allergies and stop them (e.g.) selling nutty things to nut allergists, do stock forecasting, run a points-based Healthy Eating rewards system, suggest nutritionally similar items when you need to replace something on the menu... on the whole, it seemed to do much more with the data and offer a much more complete view of everything going on. The backend looked fairly straightforward still, despite all that. Colour me impressed.

    So to those who said I should really be talking to Nationwide: I'm sorry. You were right.

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    john (2nd April 2013)

  12. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    I owe an update to this thread, for future searchers and current contributors.

    Having said what I said in my last post about no time, Nationwide cold-called our bursar to ask if we were considering a cashless system. Long story short, they had an initial quote to us within half an hour of the phone call and had re-arranged their calendar to get a meeting with us squeezed in on Thursday. And I'm glad they did.

    Where Cunningham's and Gladstone's both seemed entirely capable and competent systems, and either one would have worked well, the NRS system seems much more complete - more of a Kitchen Management System built around cashless catering, rather than _just_ a cashless system. If the data is available to the system - and NRS will do the initial gruntwork there - it can monitor stock levels based on what food you've made, alert till operators on specific allergies and stop them (e.g.) selling nutty things to nut allergists, do stock forecasting, run a points-based Healthy Eating rewards system, suggest nutritionally similar items when you need to replace something on the menu... on the whole, it seemed to do much more with the data and offer a much more complete view of everything going on. The backend looked fairly straightforward still, despite all that. Colour me impressed.

    So to those who said I should really be talking to Nationwide: I'm sorry. You were right.
    Glad that you did get them in and can see why I said on here that I was a bit sad you were not looking at them, as you have said it seems much more polished and I just felt more confident in them and the product and system and that continues now that I've had it in for nearly a year (time flys!). I wouldn't go back to cash tills anymore and I don't think any of our staff be they finance or catering would either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davit2005 View Post
    Accessing equipment from the network - It seems some are a bit reluctant to put VNC software or remote software. This makes it a bit inconvenient when trying to remote sort issues. Many have limited connectivity meaning even if you can access the machines you have to disconnect them to plug in a keyboard.
    Gladstone are really good for this. They have VNC on all of the tills \ money loaders and balance checkers. We have given them a login from our VPN so they resolve most issues via VNC over the VPN.

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    We've got Cunninghams, Nationwide and Gladstones coming in next week and this thread has been a great resource for us. I just want to know if there are any more updates to be added and also if there are any recommendations for online payments to go with the cashless catering.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    With regards to online payments, WisePay has been brilliant for us - it's a really clean, useable interface and our finance team can't speak highly enough of it. All three you're talking to will work with it.

    With regards to questions, we found that issues around Free School Meals, Staff Duty Meals etc. were often what figured most highly in considerations, because certain companies suited our current working practice better. You will have your own priorities for these things.

    Things to ask that may not be obvious: how comprehensive is the reporting, and how customisable; how much lead time is required, and what is the plan/support for live week; what are the support terms (NBD, 4 business hours, etc.); can tills be rolled out to other locations such as a school shop and can the system handle multiple purses (may not be relevant); how do the tills deal with loss of network, as that can happen; how easy is it to catch up in the event of a power outage (i.e. logging meals after the fact); how do you deal with visitors/hospitality; how do you deal with students who have run out of money.

    That should keep you busy for a while. Each of our meetings has ended up being about 2½ hours by the time we're done with the technical questions

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    Kyle (15th April 2013)

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    We just got told we had to use one vendor by the 3rd party running the kitchen.

    Ben

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    Kyle (15th April 2013)

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    That should keep you busy for a while. Each of our meetings has ended up being about 2½ hours by the time we're done with the technical questions
    We've got an hour with each :-(

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    We've got an hour with each :-(
    My advice would be to try and keep to the point then and don't like the people doing the demo's try to compare their systems to all the others out there as this will just eat away at time. If you're tight on time might be best to come up with your questions beforehand and let them know what you're looking to see. From here you can discount which systems won't work for you and call the people back to demo further the systems you do want to know more about. 1 hour is pretty short to be honest to do a proper demonstration. We also spent a good 3 to 3 hours with each company, and we went through a lot in that time, and still had more to ask after.

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