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Campus dining returned to near normal operations for the fall 2021 semester, but the University has added additional outdoor seating areas and Carolina Dining Services has scheduled a variety of food trucks around campus to provide expanded outdoor eating options. Thanks to the efforts of Craig Hyatt and Frank Tarantino of the Finance and Operations (F&O) IT team, students with Meal Plans can now use a Meal Swipe to enjoy dumplings, tacos, Korean barbecue and other culinary delights with the single swipe of a One Card.

Technology developed to accommodate external registers at outdoor dining tents during the 2020-2021 academic year was leveraged to support this new service without incurring additional student costs or fees. Close collaboration between the food truck owners and F&O IT contributed to the quick and successful implementation of this program. While the new registers are configured to function the same way as existing dining hall registers, ensuring each register was secure and PCI compliant required careful planning and communication. The biggest challenge the F&O IT team faced was merging customer expectations and the technical capabilities of the new food truck registers. These new registers also allow Carolina Dining Services to track metrics such as student meal choices, timing of Meal Swipes and how frequently students are choosing food trucks as their Meal Swipe option over the more traditional dining hall experience.

Feedback for this Meal Plan enhancement program has been very positive, and students enjoy both the variety that the food trucks offer and the option to use their Meal Swipes outside the dining halls. Carolina Dining Services provides a daily schedule of food truck options, and they have been receiving regular requests from additional vendors to join the ever-expanding list. Thank you again to Craig and Frank for their collaborative and timely execution of this Carolina Dining Services enhancement!

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