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How do you do....it? Thread, Cashless Catering System - Cunnighams and Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd in Technical; Hi everyone, We are pushing forward now to have installed a Cashless Catering System. We have got it down to ...
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    ninjabeaver's Avatar
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    Cashless Catering System - Cunnighams and Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd

    Hi everyone,

    We are pushing forward now to have installed a Cashless Catering System. We have got it down to two companies. One is Cunnighams and the others is from Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd.

    I need some honest feedback on both of these companies / solutions as there does not seem to be a lot in it. We are a Secondary school with 1400+ students and 165 FTE. Also running SIMS. I know that both systems support SIMS and can have the biometric systems we are looking at added to for Library , Door Access etc.

    Anyone have any problems with support and the other part seems to be the wireless side of things for the Snack Shack and Main Hall Snack Table. We are running a Ruckus system throughout the site.

    Many Thanks,

    Simon.

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    We use Cunninghams here and the only issue I have had is getting past the receptionist because we no longer have a support contract with them. Other than that I think they have always been good with their support whether it be onsite or via remote login.

    The other thing we have recently done with Cunninghams is link it to an online payment system so that parents can pay via credit card 24/7 therefore reducing the need for children to bring in cash or cheques.

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    NikChillin's Avatar
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    We have a cashles system, Gladstones. There is an online payment system for parents but we could have done with a pay point in the school as the office have to do all the manual payments which can be time consuming.

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    This is a issue we have but we're going with nationwide as they told me all their stuff is managed by them and nothing sources from other companies. i.e cunninghams software is made by CRB.....that's what I heard anyway.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Do cunninghams use biostore? I know NRS don't.

    I'm just wondering with cash loaders, I can see if parents can do it online or send cheques in that that will be credited to the childs account but by accepting cash you can't be sure it will actually get loaded how do people and parents deal with that?

    Ben

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    Do cunninghams use biostore? I know NRS don't.

    I'm just wondering with cash loaders, I can see if parents can do it online or send cheques in that that will be credited to the childs account but by accepting cash you can't be sure it will actually get loaded how do people and parents deal with that?

    Ben
    How do you mean? The kids don't put the money in the machine and spend it in the shop on the way to school instead? Or are you talking if the money goes into the machine but the machine doesn't recognise that?

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    plexer's Avatar
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    As in they're given money by parents told to add it to their accounts but they go to Tesco instead just like they do now.

    Ben

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    rad
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    We have NRS and it sync with Sims and ParentPay, had it since November and its working for us.

    I would recommend it, worked well, biomentrics work just the way you go about registering and informing parents that is the issue, its called "CHANGE" not everyone takes it the same way.

    PM if you want specific details.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    As in they're given money by parents told to add it to their accounts but they go to Tesco instead just like they do now.

    Ben
    Surely that's a parental issue and not something the school have to worry about?

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    ninjabeaver's Avatar
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    It is. If they spend their money in Tesco's on the way to school they can't buy any food in school. Same as it is now without a cashless system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    Do Cunningham’s use biostore? I know NRS don't.

    I'm just wondering with cash loaders, I can see if parents can do it online or send cheques in that that will be credited to the childs account but by accepting cash you can't be sure it will actually get loaded how do people and parents deal with that?

    Ben
    We use Cunningham’s and yes the use Biostore.

    We have had mixed dealing with Cunningham’s, when the system was first put in they insisted that it must run on their workgroup and that nothing they installed would need AV, yet the system is hooked on to the existing network (no vlan atm) also when they came to install the "server" it’s just a pc that they were going to install without a UPS or any fault tolerance (no raid or backups) they still don’t see the problem with that setup. Further to this, we had lots of faults to the point they sent out a senior tech out to site to look them over only to have him informing our users (very rudely) what they must have seen.

    Generally the equipment that has been provided is of a good quality, we’ve had some problems with the "reval units" (points that the students can put money on the system) eventually they replaced the main board after replacing every other part (a couple of parts twice). Since then we have had no problems with it.

    The Support calls that we have logged have been resolved mostly, there is an outstanding call with them at the moment regarding free school meals.

    Overall I would say that they are average, I wouldn’t recommend them from our experiences.

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    We've used NRS for the last ~5 years (before my time), integrating with CMIS and more recently ParentPay. I did write quite a bit more but I'll sum it up with this : We are quite likely to be looking to refresh our cashless catering systems in the next couple of years. I doubt NRS will be sitting at the top of our list.

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    We use CRB - this is the cunnighams product for the North of the country including Scotland - It's the same system but with a different name for local support etc. The CRB / Cunninghams system both use Biostore, and the latest version 3 - allows you to link with your MIS system for when you create student users an account is also produced on your Cashless system. Likewise with v3 you can link into various other biometric systems such as door access, library systems etc.

    We've had good support from CRB in the 3 years we've used the system and support generally arrives in school the next day to fix any issues if hardware related or remotely if it's a software config.

    On a side note - what do schools have in place, if the system was ever to be down whether that is a hardware or power cut during lunch? I haven't even thought about the fun and games that may cause!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylv3r View Post
    On a side note - what do schools have in place, if the system was ever to be down whether that is a hardware or power cut during lunch? I haven't even thought about the fun and games that may cause!
    I'm in the planning stages of Cashless so this is useful discussion on here, in terms of your point, I am proposing that one of the tills in the dining room is on a UPS and I am aiming, due to the proximity of the dining room to the Server Room, to directly cable the points from the tills in the dining room to the Server Room where I will have it all on a small dedicated server which can run on the big UPS in there, so fine we maybe down to one till from two but we should still be able to run a dinner service as actual serving / till usage time in a dinner service is 15 to 20 minutes, thus a 30 minute runtime UPS, as the tills don't seem to have huge electrical drains, should be suitable I would hope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    I'm in the planning stages of Cashless so this is useful discussion on here, in terms of your point, I am proposing that one of the tills in the dining room is on a UPS and I am aiming, due to the proximity of the dining room to the Server Room, to directly cable the points from the tills in the dining room to the Server Room where I will have it all on a small dedicated server which can run on the big UPS in there, so fine we maybe down to one till from two but we should still be able to run a dinner service as actual serving / till usage time in a dinner service is 15 to 20 minutes, thus a 30 minute runtime UPS, as the tills don't seem to have huge electrical drains, should be suitable I would hope.
    Hi John

    I like your thinking, but I don't think that would work for us - your school sounds much smaller than ours we have 1,400 on roll and I know all won't use the canteen on a lunchtime we still have 5 tills in operations which are in use for the majority of the 55 minute lunch break. I thought about a print off of exactly the same layout as the till screen with a box for student name at the top. The till ops write the student name, then tick everything purchased which is deducted manually from the student accounts a later date. Not sure how feasible it would be and - what preventative steps to have in place to ensure that students do not say someone else's name and for the deduction to take place on someone elses account. This may need it's own post - I wonder if any Cashless catering companies / schools have any tried and tested methods when these scenarios have occured.

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