The Build-A-Meal” Feature


So you have a fixed meal plan that offers one, two or three meals per day but don’t know how to control what residents take, what is an extra charge or limit quantities? Don’t worry…you are not alone.

Many communities struggle with how to deliver the ultimate in value for their resident meal plans and maintain a perception of fairness while not losing money on the operation. What is considered a meal-on-plan and what is deemed as take-out, grocery items or simply extra charges? Does the server / cashier make that call? Does it require that the server create a separate charge slip and send it off to accounting to be processed? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a system that allowed you to define what is included in a meal and what is not, then automatically take care of processing the entire transaction in the blink of an eye?

Enter CARDWATCH’s latest feature enhancement, the Build-A-Meal feature. With this new functionality, the administrator can:

  • define what items qualify for inclusion in a meal-on-plan by item category (eg. beverages, appetizers, main entree, side dishes, salads, desserts, etc.)

  • define what is not included in a meal-on-plan (eg. grocery items, “to-go” or take-out items, etc)

  • define how many items from each of these categories is permitted for any given meal (eg. 1 beverage, 1 appetizer, 1 entree, 2 sides and 1 dessert.)

  • automatically charge for anything that exceeds these pre-defined quantities

  • automatically charge for items that are not included as part of the meal-on-plan.

  • Issue a dessert coupon (automatically or prompted) that will allow a resident who chooses not to have a dessert with their current meal to return later (to that or another food service venue) to redeem it (all as part of that same initial transaction). The Administrator has the ability to set expiration time / date of that coupon from one meal period to several days. If the resident choses not to use the coupon, the liability to the business disappears upon expiration of the coupon.

  • Process all of these things within a single transaction and with the simple swipe / scan of the residents’ ID card.

The Build-A-Meal feature is the next best thing to delivering ultimate value to the residents next to a true Declining Balance / Dollar Debit system. Now you no longer have to worry about how much residents will take or if they will bring “take-out” containers (especially as plan expiry approaches). The new motto can be, “take as much as you want…but pay for the extras”. Everything is managed through the system itself, eliminating potential for cashier/server errors as well as alleviating administrative burden from the accounting office. Watch as you re-gain control of your food costs and start to see your gross margin re-appear!