Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA --
In accordance with a Marine Corps Administrative Order released during the summer, mess halls around Quantico are taking a major step to provide customers with faster service by fielding new Point of Sale (POS) systems slated to begin Oct.17.
The new system will allow patrons to use their Common Access Card (CAC) to receive meals instead of presenting a paper meal card and manually signing in.
“Marines live in a digital age where they have everything at their fingertips,” Kenneth Barnes, project lead of the initiative said. “So why are we still using meal cards, pens and paper trying to get these Marines food?”
The POS system will use the Electronic Data Interchange Personnel Identifier (EDIPI) information to process patrons’ meal selections, while determining whether they eat at the government’s expense or pay via cash, credit card or through their payroll account.
The new POS systems will consist of two separate service modules—“Front of Line” and “End of Line” systems—which allow patrons various capabilities.
The standard Front of the Line module is an automated version of the current process, in which patrons will swipe their CAC, rather than manually signing in at the front counter. Once the card is swiped the system will inform patrons if they can eat at government expense.
This Front of Line POS system will be operational at Weapons Training Battalion’s mess hall, Malachowski Hall and The Basic School’s Lopez Hall. A modified Front of Line POS system will be operational at the Officer Candidates School’s Bobo Hall.
Marine Corps Base Quantico will be the first to implement the End of Line system, at Headquarters and Service Battalion‘s Bruce Hall and Marine Corps Air Facility’s Dwyer Hall receiving the POS modules.
The End of Line system is similar to the Front of Line system, but with the additional ability to log and track all the items the patron has selected from the serving line while providing caloric information with their printed receipt.
Sharlene Holladay, Headquarters Marine Corps Warfighter and Performance dietitian believes this addition will be a welcome improvement as it will help further the Fueled to Fight® initiative by empowering Marines to consider food with the highest nutritional value in order to maintain a high level of performance.
Where mess halls are filled with information concerning the Fueled to Fight® program, Marines will be able to have a more educational experience,” Holladay said. “At the end of the day it will be the Marine’s decision on what they put in their body, but now they will have all the information right in front of them.”
The End of Line POS system will enable mess hall managers to log popular food selections to ensure Marines get enough food to sustain them, while unpopular items will be replaced with healthier, more appealing food selections. This information will help patrons track and adjust meal choices associated with a balanced diet and meal plan.
Maj. James Stockwell, Base Food Service’s food service officer says the initial trade-off to providing the additional information may take a little more time in the beginning, therefore he asks patrons to be patient as the base enters this new phase in its journey into the digital age.
Headquarters Marine Corps Deputy Director of Food Service Charles Girard believes the new system may take some getting used to on everyone’s part, as it is a big step forward in how the Marine Corps manages consumer data within the mess hall.
According to Director of Quantico Installation Personnel Administration Center (IPAC) Chief Warrant Officer 5 Roger Summers, as the initiative moves closer to interfacing with Marine Corps Total Force System (MCTFS) the terminal will also produce a digital database that will help all parties involved with accurate record and document keeping.
“This change is coming,” Stockwell said. “It is best Marines begin to prepare.”
It’s important to note that the meal entitlement program will continue to be validated with a traditional meal card until guidance is published by Manpower & Reserve Affairs on the discontinuance and disposal of meal cards.