Opinion: Cashless dining

No one likes waiting, especially for food. Smelling food and wondering how long it will take to get your order can be frustrating and time-consuming. 

Sodexo is trying something new this semester that might save a few minutes of your time. All dining locations in the Montview Student Union will be primarily cashless this semester. The changes are part of a “test operation,” according to Duane Davis, the general manager of Sodexo.

The new system is not 100 percent cashless, Davis said. If you forget to bring your card with you, don’t worry. Anyone who needs to pay with cash, the Montview Student Union has a register at each location to handle cash transactions. Sodexo is simply encouraging people to use cards. 

Changing to a cashless system brings benefits for students. Cash transactions take longer to process. Eliminating cash transactions shortens wait times and lines. Who doesn’t want to get food faster? 

At Liberty, students also have the added bonus of receiving a discount for using flames cash or dining dollars, according to Davis. Now, you can save your cash for T-shirts from your favorite band or those late-night trips to Walmart to buy

Not only does going cashless benefit students, but it also benefits Sodexo in several ways. Cashless systems make it easier for businesses to manage their accounting, according to Forbes. If employees spend less time keeping track of the money and inventory, they can focus on other responsibilities.

Going cashless can also save Sodexo money. A cashless system would eliminate the need for hiring armored car services to transport the cash off campus, according to Davis. According to USA Today, cashless systems also save money by eliminating bank processing fees for large amounts of currency.

Saving money is great, but what about safety? A cashless system is actually safer for employees and customers. If thieves know there is nothing to break in to steal, the likelihood of being robbed
goes down. 

Another benefit to a cashless system is convenience. Davis mentions that card transactions are easier for employees. All employees need to do is tell the customer to insert or swipe their card. This gives employees a more “hands off” way of completing transactions, eliminating any concerns about giving a customer the wrong change.

The Montview Student Union serves as an ideal location to try out a cashless system. The amount of cash used in the Montview Student Union has declined since it opened, and Flames Pass carrying patrons make up the majority of the people who eat there. 

At the end of this semester, Sodexo will analyze the results and decide whether to keep the cashless system at Montview or revert back to the old system, Davis said. If the system works well over the course of a year, they may consider expanding it to other locations on campus.

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