For Schools, Colleges and Universities


CATERMAN offers these benefits to your catering operation:-

Cashless catering is a must for all susceptible restaurant/shop situations where bacteria can be passed from hand to hand, as handling money is one of the prime vectors for spread of diseases such as Salmonella, E-Coli, etc..

Combine this with requirements for healthy eating initiatives, diet control, nutrition analysis, free meal allowances, disparate pricing for teachers, pupils, visitors, etc. plus multiple payment methods such as vouchers, cheque, credit/debit cards, and internet payments, plus catering management, and you are still only seeing a part of the overall picture.

Systems providing facilities to meet these requirements can prove expensive, with proprietary EPOS terminals and cash-to-card machines all costing large amounts plus running and maintenance, central in-house computer systems requiring maintenance, housekeeping, updating, and so on. Often, particular ID swipe cards are needed adding another expense (in some cases as much as £3.50/$6/€5 to replace a lost ID card).

CATERMAN cuts across all these problems, utilising standard PC hardware with optional additions which are easily fitted by users such as barcode readers, magnetic stripe card readers, RFID tag readers, touch screens, etc. for EPOS terminals. Almost ANY existing unique ID card already carried by your students can be used for a CATERMAN cashless catering card, old credit cards, library cards, transport cards, etc. Why have multiple cards for different systems? Or you can print your own very cheaply with simply a picture of the individual plus a bar code! Tell us about your particular requirements! Many cashless catering account holders will have a mobile phone. CATERMAN provides a service based on SMS text messages where an account holder can query the account for current balance and what has been spent/paid-in on a range of dates, or details of all transactions on a particular date. By simply sending a text with a code letter (and a date if required) to an allocated phone number, a text message is returned showing the required data. In the future, we expect all mobile phones to be equipped with RFID/NFC, allowing the phone to be used to identify the account holder with no need for a card etc. As CATERMAN allows all ID methods to co-exist on a mix and match basis, all means of identifying an account holder are provided in the standard system, and any mix of methods may be used at any suitably equipped terminal simultaneously.

Moving to a cashless system with a big-bang approach can sometimes be a mistake, and cause major problems. For example, at some schools there will always be Little Johnny arriving with a handful of coins to pay for his meal. CATERMAN allows for cash payments (which may be phased out over a period if required), simply add a cash drawer to the EPOS terminal/PC (many are available, ranging from stand-alone to integrated with the EPOS terminal and/or opened from the keyboard). However, we would recommend a simple ticket issuing machine accepting cash be considered.

CATERMAN costs only £100/$125/€120 per month for each simultaneous power user (minimum 10 users), so typically a school with 1000 pupils might have up to 5 EPOS terminals and 5 other users at any time for £10000/$12500/€12000 per annum. Non-power users (classed as zero-level password owners, maybe self-registering with mobile phones) may log on to the system to enquire on their own accounts, place advance orders, inspect their nutritional averages, etc. or use their mobile phone to text advance orders. Non-power users who have account(s) with external-access passwords plus system access passwords with assigned PIN similarly may log on to the system at no cost with access to designated account(s) - for example, a parent/guardian can view account details with menu choices made with nutrional analysis of meals purchased over date ranges.

For organisations which prefer to have their own in-house installations (may be necessary if SMS facilities are required), a CATERMAN server can be provided and installed for £12000 plus £6000 per annum support/maintenance. Access via internet with a static IP address must be provided for support/maintenance, and for CATERMAN access by non-staff users/parents/guardians. EPOS terminals (PCs with touch screens etc.) should be connected to the server by LAN or wireless (EPOS terminals are not supplied). Staff users may be connected either by LAN/wireless or via the internet, but UK schools/colleges may be subject to restrictions imposed by their current provider of internet access so that no other internet access is allowed - in this case it is essential to consult the provider to establish what facilities are available for external access. Additional schools/colleges may be supported on the same server at an annual cost of £1000 per extra user in increments of 10.

Non-UK schools/colleges who require in-house servers are requested to contact us with a view to arrangements being made with a local IT supplier.

If you are going to install cashless catering, or your existing cashless catering system needs replacing, please do your budgets a favour by talking to us before spending a lot of money on an obsolescent system – the future is in lean, efficient, economical, internet-based applications. You will be amazed at the advantages of advance ordering by your customers, cutting down queues, wastage, counter space, and expensive staff resources!


UK - Response to School Meals Review Panel “Turning the Tables: Transforming School Food” Report Recommendations.