In an effort to become more interactive for students, Campus Dining integrated a new web-based point-of-sale system.
The update was made over winter break, causing several issues out of the gate that has since been resolved. The old point-of-sale system was onsite meaning it was backed up using various forms of storage devices. The transition to a web-based server is aimed to make the system more flexible and personal.
Director of Aramark Spencer Martin said Aramark had been planning the update for about a year.
“This update has been discussed for the better part of a year now,” Martin said. “The unique piece of the puzzle to solve at Northwest was the integration of the existing vending program. With the previous system, we were able to allow students one card that could be utilized everywhere on campus and wanted to keep this piece.”
Along with the new point-of-sale system, Campus Dining is introducing Bearcat Account Center. Students will now be able to view meal plan information and have the ability to deactivate a lost or stolen Bearcat Card.
The process of updating the system has caused some problems affecting students. Problems with the Bearcat Cards forced a number of students to be issued a new one.
In response, Campus Dining sent out an email regarding the update among the point-of-sale system. Students experiencing problems with their cards were instructed to go to the University ID Office or Campus Dining office.
Meal plans weren’t showing up for some, leading to meal charges at the J.W. Student Union. For those students, cashiers wrote down their 919 numbers and meal plan and sent it to the accounting office. The accounting office was then in charge of taking the charges back off.
The Bearcat Cards were also experiencing problems at beverage vending machines. The machines were not reading the cards, but that has since been fixed.
The new update no longer favors Dominos and Pizza Hut. They can no longer accept Bearcat Cards as a form of payment.
Another concern among students was Starbucks not accepting gift cards. Aramark’s new update will accept gift cards both magnetic and on mobile apps, according to Martin.
Despite the problems with updating the system, a cashier at the Bearcat Commons Michell Ashley is certain the update will be beneficial to students.
“It should be quicker and faster to get through the register when you come through. Also, they put a new credit card machine that you can swipe your own credit card instead of handing it to us,” Ashley said.
The new credit card machine is part of the efforts to build security. Aramark has also updated their card system to a 16-digit ISO number, similar to credit cards.
While there were some problems with the implementation of the new update, Aramark is looking forward to the new features of the update including increased security and flexibility.
“The upgrade will allow us to grow with emerging market trends in the way we are able to provide dining options for students and campus as a whole,” Martin said.