Automating Military Dining Facilities

Military service members have a fast-paced tempo to meet mission and training requirements, which frequently requires meals on the go. “Fast” often translates to fast food, which poses two main consequences:

  • These restaurants do not always offer nutritionally dense choices, which may impact performance.
  • Third-party options do not utilize meal entitlement benefits, leading to unused government funds.

It may seem like a formidable challenge to lure service members into dining facilities while promoting healthier choices. However, these goals become much more attainable by automating military dining facilities with foodservice solutions.

Graphic of automating military dining facilities to draw in service members

Menus in the Palm of Your Hand

Consider the typical civilian dining experience: it tends to be a swift process when someone knows what they want to order. As a result, many people gravitate to familiar places and favorite dishes to meet their dietary preferences. The same philosophies apply to military retail foodservice, hence the appeal of big-name fast food chains. Even if the food quality is average, it is generally consistent, reliable, and – most importantly – simple.

Establishing an online presence can give dining facilities the edge they need to compete with franchises. With the ability to find meal choices digitally, service members can quickly scan menus and discover which retail locations interest them. Mobile menus show service members that they can find whatever they’re craving right at an on-base dining facility. Furthermore, a combination of robust software solutions can provide:

  • Easy access to daily food offerings for each meal period
  • Nutritional information (including recipe allergens, ingredients, and nutrients) through full integration with foodservice software
  • Lists for personalized item selections
  • Total nutritional information for an entire meal selection
  • Meal ordering via mobile devices
  • Self-managed charge accounts
  • Potential for rewards programs

What About Transactions?

Automating military dining facilities also requires a comprehensive and secure point-of-sale (POS) solution. Retail environments must be equipped with the right technology to implement cashless meal card programs, communicate nutrition insights, and enhance efficiency.

A premier POS solution will have the functionality for full integration with the dining facility’s foodservice software. Given the proper data, the POS system should determine the eligibility of allowance for subsistence by capturing information from the service member’s Common Access Card (CAC). Having front-of-the-house data will allow foodservice operators to analyze POS activity, adequately prepare for audits, and improve overall accountability.

In support of performance nutrition initiatives, the ideal POS system will print receipts with corresponding nutritional and caloric values of menu items selected. Displaying this information is key to encouraging service members to make healthy food choices based on their dietary and training goals.

There are numerous benefits when automating military dining facilities: faster ordering, reduced line queues, increased throughput, promoting healthy meal choices, and maximized budgets. For more information on how you can levitate your retail environments, contact