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Catering for students? The choice is theirs

Woman typing on a laptop

Whilst it’s refreshing to see restrictions are finally being eased, the Covid-19 pandemic flipped student life on its head. What was once a lifestyle centred on socialising, changed to, largely, an individual, digitally driven experience.

With much of university learning transferred to online platforms during lockdown, and freshers confined to their dorms, plus the ever-present undercurrent of social media, students want choice, personalisation, and flexibility, in all aspects of their lives.

Food, but make it fast

Thanks to the rising popularity of fast-food apps such as Just Eat and Deliveroo, students are accustomed to having ample options for accessing ready-prepared meals at the touch of a button, any time they like. But once an order has been placed and paid for, hungry students are then tied to a set time and location to receive their food.

With Pre Order Pods installed at a university’s canteen, restaurant or café, food can be ordered remotely – via an app or website, just as with a fast-food service – though once prepared, it is stored in a locker that’s set to exactly the right temperature, either hot, cold or ambient, to keep the contents inside fresh.

The customer, who could be a student about to finish a lecture, or perhaps a lecturer looking to squeeze in a snack between classes, can then collect their order at a time that works with their unique schedule. So rather than levelling up to the fast-food apps, caterers can go one better by offering complete customer choice and flexibility.

Close to home

In student accommodation facilities, Pre Order Pods can also be used to encourage students and staff to purchase direct from the university kitchens, from the comfort of their own dorms.

Using the same process of ordering via an app, the catering teams can prepare fresh meals, which are then transported to a pod located in the communal area of a student residence – pre-set to the correct temperature to hold the food – and ready to be collected at any time.

Click, deliver, and collect

In addition to allowing easy access to freshly prepared food, Pre Order Pods’ range of chilled and ambient lockers can also be used to offer choice in ordering grocery deliveries. The pandemic has increased demand for home delivery, which has resulted in fewer available supermarket delivery slots in a 24-hour period. For students, who are studying during the day and into the night, the window in which they can receive deliveries is likely to be limited.

Our Pre Order Pods are the ideal ‘hack’ for getting around this issue. Students can choose to have their shopping delivered at any time without fear of missing it. Deliveries will be directed to a locker – pre-set to either hot, cold or ambient – where you can store groceries until the customer is ready to collect.

It’s been reported that the pandemic has sped up our adoption of technology by five-years, further closing the gap between our physical and digital lives. And when it comes to those at the forefront of technological adoption, the student population is certainly leading the way.

By using technology to meet their needs holistically, offering choice, speed and flexibility, catering and facility managers can not only retain their customer base, but continuously exceed their expectations, staying one step ahead of the competition in the process.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels