The School Nutrition program at Cabot School District in Cabot, AR, serves some 10,600 students at 17 separate cafeteria sites.
Having served as the Director of Food Service at Cabot SD for the past 12 years, Erin Wilkes didn’t actually notice any problems; instead, she felt she had a pretty solid handle on things. According to her, “we didn’t have a lot of issues with our program.”
Erin could sense, however, that more could be done. As she puts it, “I didn’t know at the time how behind we were, but I felt like we weren’t advancing.”
Specifically, as Erin only later realized, she and her team were having trouble pulling reports, tracking payments, keeping their lunch lines moving, and generally using their time efficiently.
Once Erin bought eTrition- HSS’ School Nutrition software- into her district, she began to watch her program advance in all the ways she felt had been missing.
About reporting and using her time efficiently, Erin says, ” I was not able to refill a whole staff position in my office because where I used to have to have someone spending hours and hours manually pulling reports, now eTrition does it in 15 seconds and sends me an email and I don’t even have to think about it.
As for payments, Erin explains, “When we take payments in, we know where they go. We can tell parents. Parents can look it up. It’s not that, well, I sent money to the cafeteria and we don’t know where it went. There’s no more of that. We have a lot more faith with our parents, I believe.”
And, with regard to the speed of her lunch lines, Erin has noticed a significant improvement. “We can get them through so quickly,” she says. “Whereas with our old system, it would take a little bit for it to pull up and for us to actually process, now they just type in four-digit code and they are off. I mean it’s just seamless.”
In the end, Erin has been pleasantly surprised and says she would argue with anyone on the fence to consider eTrition.
“You just have to do it,” she says. “You think, I don’t have the time to do that or it’s hard for me to give up that extra money, or well, my system works, so why would I want to?”
“It will pay for itself. Just do it.”
Erin has seen firsthand the benefits of going for it, even when you aren’t necessarily sure what “it” is.
As she puts it, “It was just things I didn’t even know that were out there that opened up for our district. We’re a lot more efficient now. I just jumped out there and I did it, and it definitely has paid off.”