Engrained’s no-cash policy promotes efficiency

Workers go about their business in Engrained, located in The Connection

Nicole Lamson

Workers go about their business in Engrained, located in The Connection

Chelsea Lane

One of Grand Valley State University’s newest on-campus restaurants, Engrained, offers everything from subs to alfredo to salads. But there is one thing students won’t find there. Cash.

GVSU opted to make Engrained, which features a sustainably-focused menu, its first cashless campus restaurant. Guests at Engrained place their orders and pay in one line, where they self-scan their school ID, debit card or credit card. Guests with cash only can go to Provisions on Demand (The POD) in The Connection, where they can convert their cash into $10 or $25 gift cards.

The idea first came to GVSU Dining five years ago during a business trip to Virginia Technological University, which has won multiple national awards for its on-campus food. Campus Dining hopes the system will prove more efficient, allowing employees to spend more time focusing on customer service.

“With speed comes efficiency,” said Campus Dining general manager Tom Minor in a press release. “The employees have more time to focus on guest service and not on the transaction, leading to a better experience for guests.”

In addition to being more efficient, the cashless format is also more sustainable and eliminates germs.

“A cashless environment is considered sustainable, and given that The Connection is a LEED-certified building, it made sense to extend sustainable efforts into the payment structure,” said Deb Rambadt, Campus Dining marketing manager.

Rambadt added that despite “a bit of confusion in the beginning,” guests have adapted well to the change and accepted it with little difficulty. As the initial response has been encouraging, Rambadt said Campus Dining may also expand the cashless system to other locations in the future.

“Currently Kleiner Marketplace is experiencing 97 percent cashless transactions by use of meal plan or credit cards,” she said. “This is a potential candidate for a complete cashless environment in the future.”

Campus Dining launched an extensive marketing campaign behind the new format, including posters, information tables and providing information about the system in Campus Dining training.

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