New system creates brief confusion in cafeteria

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The first students to experience the new lunchroom system witnessed the confusion that plagued the cafeteria at the beginning of the school year. Lines stretched out of the kitchen, the cafeteria was crowded, and many students were not able to finish their lunches. These issues were caused by errors in planning as well as the installation of a new system.

Over the summer, the school installed a new computer system in the lunchroom. For the cafeteria workers, this took some getting used to. One cafeteria worker, Sylvia Rivera, said, “We’re getting to learn it … the first day, the lines were really long because for us, it was the first time we got to use it.”

But, it didn’t take long to get comfortable — “They should be fine now.” Rivera said, “[and the new system] should be better.”

This system was installed because it seemed necessary to invest in an update. “The system we had was severely outdated,” said Food Director Janet Calabro. “We had to make a decision: to stay with the old company … or [to switch] to a competitive company that had a similar system.” She decided it was most cost effective and time efficient to switch companies. “It’s more user friendly [and has better] technical support.” Overall, “it’s a superior system.”

Many students also had to get new PINs, or could not remember what their PINs were. Because the system was just put in place, it may have been confusing to locate the PIN numbers of the students. Some students were told that they had many different PIN codes and were unsure which ones were theirs. Freshmen Quinn Kessel said, “The first day I went to go get my lunch, and when I tried typing in my PIN, they said it wasn’t recognized. When I told them my name, they gave me a new PIN. Then the next day they gave me a new one … This happened two more times.”

Another cause of the chaotic lunches was the unequal amounts of students in each of the three lunch waves on the first day. According to administration, this is always how it is on the first day: some students don’t go to the right lunch waves by choice, and some teachers don’t send their students to the right lunch waves. Assistant principal Ryan Mertel said, “Some kids may have read their schedules wrong … There’s always problems on the first day of school.”

As the next few days passed, the chaos in the lunchroom seems to have dwindled down. Lines have gotten shorter, students have their PINs memorized, and the new system seems to be working well. It may just be that the first few days of lunch are always an issue, but they end up working out in the end.

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