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Kiwi school lunch ordering system quicker than making a sandwich

20 Nov 14

Parents and caregivers too busy to pack school lunches in the morning can head online and order meals that will be delivered to their children’s schools.

Hawke’s Bay start-up Lunchonline provides families and schools with a convenient and good value school lunch solution.

Meal providers make lunches available for parents to order off the Lunchonline website. The meals are then delivered to the school who distributes the lunches to students.

Schools can opt into the Lunchonline programme and register via the website. The school can then select from a range of providers already registered, or request Lunchonline find them a provider.

Meal providers range from bakeries and cafes to Subway. Providers can only register with Lunchonline if they hold a current health certificate issued by their local authority.

The provider develops a menu for the school and the school has control over which items are available and when, with one of the key elements being that the school has control over the menu.

Schools who use Lunchonline will not have to put resources into operating a lunch programme. David Chapman, Lunchonline managing director, says the aim of Lunchonline was to make it easy for parents while removing the hassle from the schools, and making it easy for providers to get their meals in schools.

“We’ve taken all the admin away from the school and put the technology in the middle to allow parents to interact with the food provider directly,” he says.

Users top up their accounts on the website to order lunches instead of using credit cards each time. “Literally three minutes and the order is done, quicker than making a sandwich,” Chapman says.

The lunch providers can login into the Lunchonline website and pull reports about what kinds of food are being ordered the most.

While many schools have developed and supported healthy lunch programmes, some schools struggle with this concept stating that students who don’t like the healthy options will purchase their lunch elsewhere. “The Lunchonline programme will provide enough control by the school and parents and caregivers so students can enjoy a great tasting lunch with good nutritional value,” the company says on its website. 

Promoting healthy eating and offering a range of food providers at affordable costs for parents are prime drivers of the business. “Some parents have no control over what their kids are eating. Life’s too busy. It’s easier to go online,” says Chapman.

Lunchonline’s ongoing lunch programme offers various options for schools to gain further revenue, either on a continuous basis (3% of sales) or special event promotions, recognising the need to sharing revenue with the school to ensure all parties have a vested interest in its success. “By working together to provide a convenient affordable lunch solution for parents and caregivers, removing lunch administration hassles for schools while providing an income stream, and lastly giving Lunchonline and its providers profits to maintain their business, provides a win for all parties”.

The website is iPad capable and they are currently investigating a mobile phone app.

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