In 2023, the education industry will face myriad challenges, including labor shortages and employee burnout in its food service programs. This, in turn, will affect student satisfaction. Children are experiencing longer wait times during already limited lunch periods, as well as fewer available meal options. This all leads to lower sales for schools.
Luckily, there’s a solution. Micro markets, which utilize automated self-checkout technology, enable students to serve themselves. In addition to supplementing lunch options and reducing wait times, micro markets expand a school’s food service hours. With a micro market, students who arrive early or stay late for extracurricular activities can grab a snack and boost their energy levels. Teachers can also use the grab-and-go feature as their schedules allow, introducing more flexibility into their work days.
Think of these markets as the more advanced, profitable version of vending machines. According to Hubert, a leader in food merchandising, micro markets have 200% to 300% higher sales. Students would have a variety of food and beverage options. The market would be restocked every day, assuring freshness and quality. It’s the perfect time-saving option at lunch or for a quick snack between classes. What’s more, no staff members need to be present during transactions. Micro market vending alleviates a lot of schools’ ongoing concerns.
Why Micro Markets Are Successful
Micro markets are especially successful in places like airports, shopping malls, and office lobbies. Why? The vast number of people who pass through them have little time to spare. Students face similar time constraints, particularly in larger schools where it’s hard to serve everyone within the allotted lunch break.
Schools may try to get around this by breaking up lunch into different periods, but this puts more pressure on employees who are trying to simultaneously prepare food, serve it, and keep it hot for students on later breaks. Plus, this approach means that staff members must work longer to cover multiple lunch periods. But with convenient micro market kiosks, productivity increases because employees can focus their time on preparing food rather than serving it.
Micro market vending has other benefits. A school could also use its micro market kiosk to sell school supplies such as stationery, pens, sticky notes, paper, and more. These objects are easily forgotten or lost throughout the day. By providing them up front, schools can improve the learning experience while also boosting revenue.
What to Consider When Creating a Micro Market
Cafeterias need to have enough space for students to sit and eat their meals. This school cafeteria layout leaves little room for extra equipment. However, micro market kiosks can fit into lobbies, corners, and anywhere else students regularly pass through on their way to the cafeteria. If space is an issue, get creative. Is there another hangout area, such as a courtyard or library? Placing the micro market farther from the cafeteria is okay if students have somewhere else to eat.
When it comes to appearance, the micro market design should stand out but still fit in with the rest of the decor. Students and staff should find it enjoyable to shop there. Consider incorporating school colors or mascots into the micro market design. Also, make sure there’s a logical flow of traffic. These markets are designed to save wait times, not increase them.
Micro market vending is the ideal option for schools. Not only do they improve the lunch experience for students and staff, but they also contribute to the bottom line. Solve today’s problems by investing in the future of lunch convenience.