Peak to Peak is a charter school located in Lafayette, Colorado that took a bold step in moving its school nutrition technology to a cloud-based system in the middle of the school year.
The result? A successful implementation that went smoothly from start to finish, and a system that has streamlined operations and simplified daily tasks.
As part of the Boulder Valley School District, Peak to Peak receives operational funding like other schools in the district, yet the school manages its own budget and maintains financial responsibility for all school-related commitments.
Peak to Peak was responsible for the information technology (IT) functions associated with the school nutrition and library systems in place. With no IT resources on staff, Peak to Peak was paying a consultant to manage the server for these systems.
Seeking to eliminate this expense and streamline operations, Food Services Program Manager Elizabeth Begley began looking for a new system that would require less IT involvement. After carefully considering her options, Elizabeth chose Solana, Horizon’s cloud-based school nutrition technology solution.
Since the library was moving to a cloud-based system mid-year, Elizabeth also wanted to go ahead and implement the new system right away. In December, Peak to Peak switched over to Solana without a hitch. “It went quickly from inquiry to implementation,” Elizabeth says. “It was literally like a blink, and the new system was in place. The whole process was smooth.”
Elizabeth was a little nervous about going live with Solana in the middle of the year, but she found there was no need for concern. “We literally have had no issues,” Elizabeth comments. “The cashiers took to the new system right away.”
Peak to Peak also started using PIN pads in their four serving lines when they implemented the new system, which could have caused some bumps in the road. Elizabeth was on stand-by the first day just in case anything came up, but nothing did. “There were no problems whatsoever,” Elizabeth adds. “Everything went smoothly, even with the students remembering their PINs. And, the cashiers appreciate not having to try and hear kids saying their names and numbers in a loud lunchroom.”
Elizabeth has also seen improvements in line speed and efficiency with Solana.
“With the easy-to-use POS screen and the new PIN pads, we can process each student much faster,” Elizabeth notes.
The cashiers are excited about Solana’s innovative features, like the PIN queue that lets them serve the students in any order and the journal view that makes it easy to go back and flag transactions or make adjustments.
The cashiers also like the icons that appear on the student pictures indicating different alerts such as low balance, meal purchased, allergies, and more. “Cashiers can see important information about each student in line at a glance,” she says.
Another improvement the cashiers enjoy is the streamlined end-of-day processing. “The cashiers appreciate the easy end-of-day process that makes closing out much faster,” Elizabeth notes.
When it comes to laying out the menus, Elizabeth has found Solana to be easy and user friendly. And, she likes that the menu grids can be customized to fit their needs. “I make changes daily, mark what’s a meal, and make it available at the POS lines,” Elizabeth comments. “It’s so easy.”
Solana has also saved Elizabeth time when managing the business aspects of her operation with its streamlined reporting. “One of the things I love the most is the reporting,” Elizabeth says. ”I used to have to go to so many screens, and now with Solana it’s so simple.” The reports are easy to find and the whole process is streamlined. Elizabeth is now running fewer reports to get the data she needs. “It is so easy to run reports, it has cut down quite a bit on the time I would spend in the afternoon,” she notes.
Elizabeth has also been impressed with the outstanding customer support she has received from the start. Peak to Peak no longer uses its consultant, so any technology related functions now fall to Elizabeth. “It is incredible how Horizon has been there for me, helping me with the technology side and making me feel like they enjoy helping,” Elizabeth says. “It’s a pleasure to work with Solana and Horizon; they make it easier to do my job.”