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Self-serve kiosks come to FedEx Institute dining

By Christopher Whitten
On February 28, 2012

Dining services implemented a new order kiosk at the Cyber Café in the FedEx Institute of Technology this semester.

The kiosks allow students to enter their own orders into a computer and then pay a cashier for their food. It was designed to reduce wait times and increase customer satisfaction.

Director of Dining Services Peter Groenendyk said he and Dining Services staff intended to have the new kiosk installed by the beginning of the semester, but it wasn't actually placed at the Cyber Café until mid-January.

He said the order stations won't take away jobs from employees and the new system is meant to increase customer service.

"In many of our locations, we're actually maxing out on how many people we can serve, so we saw this as a way to try and improve that process so people can stand in an ordering queue and their orders would go directly back to the food prep area. You could pay your ticket and speed that process up," Groenendyk said.

The kiosk has allowed Dining Services to increase service times at cafe, but there are no plans to install kiosks in other locations on campus.

The service was funded by investment dollars that Dining Services gets from its vendors yearly.

"Tiger Dining has a food service agreement with Aramark and (the company) is committed to investing a certain amount of money every year into the kiosks," Groenendyk said.

Sophomores Lauren Oppenheimer and Cameron Symlar both used the self-ordering station for the first time on Monday.

Symlar, a communication major, said he goes to the cafe for lunch about three or four times a week. He said the station was easy to use and he was able to place his order quickly.

"This is the quietest it's ever been. It's usually jam-packed in here," he said, contributing the calmness to the kiosk being installed.

Oppenheimer, an education major, said Monday was her fifth time to dine at the Cyber Café.  The lines are usually long, she said, and her experience with the new system was a welcome change.

"I think it's a heck of a lot better. I really do. It's less time consuming than to have to sit and wait on everybody," Oppenheimer said.

At peak times, the lines still back up a bit with people trying to learn the new system. As a result, the restaurant will gain an additional ordering station next week to account for some of the wait time, Groenendyk said.

Dining Services will also add a kiosk in the new art building in the fall. It will be similar to the full-service kiosk at the Cyber Cafe.

In addition, Groenendyk said at some point in the near future the theater building will add an exterior service window to Fred & Ethel's, so students can order and pick up their food from outdoors.


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