The Ultimate Guide to ANC 2018

It’s our favorite time of year at Meals Plus! The School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference 2018 is just around the corner. From July 9-12 industry professionals from all over the country will head to the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas for four days of sharing bright ideas, learning best practices, and illuminating a bold vision for K12 school food service! Whether it’s your first time, or you’re a dedicated annual attendee, we have everything you need to know to get ready.

Getting Started

First thing’s first—the Opening Session. This year, co-anchor of CBS This Morning, Gayle King will be starting things off! She will be bringing refreshing authenticity along with her dogged persistence to her assignments. After her keynote speech, she will be signing copies of her book, Note to Self: Inspiring Words from Inspiring People. She isn’t the only star studded speaker. On Thursday Chef Jeff Henderson will be sharing his journey from the streets to the stove, along with some real-life strategies to help you achieve your dreams. After his session, he will also be signing copies of his books. Check out SNA’s website for more information on the general sessions.

Gaining Bright Ideas

Whether you’re looking to develop new skills or enhance existing knowledge, you can customize a schedule of educational sessions just for your needs! There will be a Culinary Skills Lab, sessions on promoting your program, and information on navigating the procurement puzzle. You can view all education session here as well as download a tracking tool that provides an easy way to keep up with your training hours during the conference.

Exploring the Exhibit Hall

The most exciting part of ANC for us at Meals Plus is the Exhibit Hall! This year there will be 880 booths showcasing culinary trends in food, beverage, supply, equipment, and service solutions. No matter what you’re looking for to grow your program, you can find it in the miles of aisles! While you’re there, be sure to stop to learn about how we can help turn your cafeteria into the Smartest Lunchroom. For digital menu solutions, visit School Nutrition and Fitness at book #1659. To learn more about our integrated cafeteria management solutions visit Meals Plus at booth #1065! Whether you’re a customer or not, if you are looking for new ways to improve your program, we’d love to chat with you!

Making Connections through Special Events

The fun doesn’t stop once you leave the educational sessions or the exhibit hall. There are even more events that offer a little something for everyone! If you’re a first-time attendee, you should definitely go to the First-Timers Session to guide you in the right direction before you get started. This year is all about networking, so be sure to attend the New Connections Reception on Monday. Once you’ve gained all of these new ideas and connections, celebrate at the closing event, Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil, an electrifying fusion of acrobatics and dance in honor of the King of Pop. Learn more about all of the special events offered at ANC here.

Take on ANC from your Smartphone!

ANC just went mobile! You can download SNA’s 2018 ANC mobile app to stay connected while on site. You can build your own agenda, evaluate education sessions, navigate the conference center, message other attendees and join discussion groups, and receive notifications on schedule changes and program alerts. The app can be downloaded on iTunes or Google Play.

Experiencing Las Vegas Outside of the Conference Doors

Even though our first priority at ANC is to learn and network, it’s also an exciting opportunity to experience Sin City! Check out this list for some of the Best Things to Do in Las Vegas. You may also want to check out SNA’s list of inexpensive suggestions for exploring Vegas.

We are so excited to see you in Vegas! We hope you gain valuable information to step up your lunch program. Don’t forget to stop by booth #1065 to visit Meals Plus and booth #1659 to visit School Nutrition and Fitness in the exhibit hall July 10-12. Learn more information about ANC 2018 here.

Are Enrollment Woes Giving You a Headache?

Hello,

This is Matt from Meals Plus. Keeping up with your enrollment and making sure it’s correct can be a headache. Along with all the other things you have to do every day, wouldn’t it be a bonus if you didn’t have to worry about it?

Meals Plus software has automated functions and reports to take the anxiety out of enrollments and withdrawals – it’s hands off so you can use that time on other tasks and we’ll even set it up for you!

We offer a full line of USDA approved programs including – Point of Sale, Free & Reduced, online applications, internet meal payments and school fees, Inventory Management, Menu Planning with Nutrient Analysis and much more…  Our suite of products, backed by award-winning customer support, is helping large and small nutrition programs in 40 states.

Whenever you have 10 minutes to talk, please Email me and we’ll set up a short appointment just to see if it makes sense to talk further.

How Meals Plus POS Software Helps Prevent Unpaid Lunch Debt

Hello, Meals Plus Matt here!

A recent article in USA Today featured a lucky district that had $13,250 of lunch debt paid off by an anonymous donor. Wouldn’t that be nice?! Unpaid lunch debt is a headache for many districts, and was even featured in a FSD Magazine article, ‘Dealing With Delinquency.’ So you might be interested in how the Meals Plus Point of Sale program can help you recoup some of that money. Reaching parents can be a challenge, so we included the ability to email low balance letters right from the Point of Sale program. Eliminate the time, paper and costs associated with sending a letter home and email instead – fast, efficient, and effective!

Email me or contact me here to learn how Meals Plus can help you recoup lost lunch money and even cut costs at your district. I’m here to serve you!

Oh, and I hope to see you at ANC in Atlanta this summer! There will be so much going on at the Meals Plus booth…more details to follow!

What Happens When Your Child Nutrition Server Crashes?

Hello – It’s Matt Kennedy from Meals Plus! Last week, we assisted a district whose server crashed – what a nightmare. They tried to restore a recent backup, but the backups were corrupt! The most recent usable backup they had was from October of last year – they lost months of business. It got me thinking about how that would affect other districts…

child nutrition softwareHow would you cope if your server crashed? If you had Meals Plus child nutrition software running your CN program, we could also take the worry out of server backups and maintenance! You could eliminate the cost and hassle of purchasing and maintaining a server with our database hosting.

Did You Know?

  • Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States
  • 25 million Windows computers crash each day

With the Meals Plus Hosting Service you get 99.99% guaranteed uptime and fast disaster recovery service ensuring that your data is available and safe.

Let me know if you‘d like to talk further about our Hosting Service for all these Meals Plus components: Point of Sale, Free & Reduced, online applications, online meal payments and school fees, Inventory Management, Menu Planning.  Our suite of products, backed by award-winning customer support, is helping large and small child nutrition programs in 40 states.

Email me or contact me here to find out more.  I’m here to serve you!

School_cafeteria_software (2)

 

Meals Plus Recognized for Elite Customer Service and Support

Meals Plus has been ranked 23rd in the world for award-winning customer service, as determined by the HDI Customer Satisfaction Index. The Meals Plus Technical Account Specialist Team was awarded a spot on the 2015 HDI CSAT Elite 50 for overall satisfaction ratings provided by our customers over a 12-month period.

meals plus supportHDI is the world’s largest professional association and certification body for technical service and support professionals. The fifty support centers with the highest scores are part of the Elite 50, and the ranking within the top fifty is based off of the average of the year’s responses to the fifth question on the survey: “How satisfied are you with the overall service experience?”

“We are extremely proud of our team,” said Meals Plus Vice-President Jeff Flynn. “We are dedicated to providing the best service to our customers day in and day out, and are honored to be recognized by a worldwide organization like HDI.”

Congratulations to the Meals Plus Team!

managment_systems_services

Centralize Your District’s Data with Accountability Software

Meals Plus’ child nutrition accountability software centralizes all of your district’s data with ease. It provides real-time access to district-wide and school-by-school reports.  The software also allows you to update cafeteria point of sale pricing from the Central Office.

Request a free cafeteria software trial or call 1-800-541-8999 for more information!Centralized_school_data

Meet the Meals Plus Development Team – Scott

K12 Nutritional AnalysisMeet the Meals Plus Team! Scott is the newest member of the Development Team that implements changes in our school lunchroom software to meet the needs of today’s K-12 child nutrition departments.

The Dish: How long have you been at Meals Plus?
Scott: Since October of 2012

TD: What duties and responsibilities does your position entail?
S: I write new code add features and fix bugs and issues in both Meals Plus and Lunchprepay.com our online school meal payment system.

TD: What aspects of your position do you enjoy the most?
S:The problem solving aspect of the job. Sometimes it is like detective work isolating a problem and finding a solution. It is very rewarding when you fix something or add a useful feature.

TD: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
S: I enjoy woodworking.

TD: What was your favorite lunch when you were in school?
S: Pizza.

Click here to meet the rest of the Meals Plus Team!

Cafeteria_technology_download

SNEW Spotlight: Vi Marriot

In recognition of School Nutrition Employee Week (May 7-11, 2012), we would like to highlight an exceptional lunchroom employee from Onslow County (NC) School District!

Vi Marriot has been doing an outstanding job at Bell Fork Elementary in Jacksonville, NC for 18 years. She works with a new staff will limited experience and still operates on 24+ meals per labor hour daily! Vi’s kitchen serves 3,188 breakfasts and 5,679 lunches monthly and consistently maintains a 101 rating on each health inspection. She attends all professional development workshops, willingly implements the tools for a highly successful operation and is a key member of the Bell Fork Cafeteria Staff!

Want to acknowledge members of your lunchroom staff? Email us and we will share their story!

Program_for_k-12_inventory

School Technology Directors Agree – Meals Plus Keeps the Lunchline Moving

In our most recent customer satisfaction survey, the results confirmed that the technology department’s vote counts a lot when choosing a cafeteria software program. And we are proud to announce that 100% of IT directors that took our survey would recommend Meals Plus to another school district.

school cafeteria softwareIf you’re interested in upgrading your software, share our system requirements and technical specifications with your IT department. They will quickly see the advantages of Meals Plus, including working on a centralized server.  To see how you can reduce technology issues by as much as 95%, contact our sales team today via email at sales@mealsplus.com or call us directly at 1-800-541-8999!

“[My favorite part of Meals plus is] the centralized server that we are using through Meals Plus. I now have the capability to view transactions from my desk. When free and reduced applications are completed and updated the information is immediately posted to the schools.” – Robin Taylor, Child Nutrition Director at Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Schools, NC

Centralized_server_with_real_time_access

 

Tennessee’s Sullivan County Experiences the Benefits of a Centralized Database

Case Study: Sullivan County Department of Education

“The system and the support that comes with it has exceeded our expectations. Having real-time information at my fingertips allows me to complete tasks in minutes, not days. We look forward to our future with Meals Plus and adding additional modules.” – Lisa Holt, Food Services Director, Sullivan County Schools.

Overview
Sullivan County Schools Food ServicesSullivan County DOE serves over 11,500 students and consists of 25 schools divided into four zones. Sullivan County is the sixth largest county in Tennessee. Each day, Sullivan County School Food Services 150 employees serve 10,000 meals.

District Obstacles
Sullivan County Schools Food Services had various issues that were wasting their school system both time and money. Their 24 databases required backing up daily, technical issues were not handled in a timely manner by their software support technicians, and student account updates took as long as 5 days to process. Importing student information from their SIS program was so difficult that they did not do it often and when they did, central office staff had to input new student information by hand. Running their day-to-day operations was taking longer than necessary, causing a strain on employees and resources.

Finding the Answer
Sullivan County Schools needed a cafeteria management system with a centralized database and real-time data updates. Technical issues needed to be handled by not only efficient tech support staff but knowledgeable ones as well. A system that was not only easy to use but provided detailed and thorough information was a must and the Meals Plus school lunchroom software system met all of their criteria.

Results
With an initial implementation and continued customer service that is “above and beyond their expectations”, Sullivan County has a more efficient system, a sharp reduction in technical problems and an increase in productivity. Real-time information and thorough data is available at their fingertips and a seamless transition within the system modules further streamlines their efforts. Importing student information from their SIS program is a breeze and the Direct Certification process has been greatly simplified. They look forward to their future with Meals Plus and adding additional cafeteria software system components to their schools.

Meals_plus_administrative_operations_system