New Cafeteria Loyalty Cards Reward Campus Food Purchases

Many students, staff and faculty at Kendall, Homestead and North campuses have been cashing in on a new loyalty rewards card that when swiped to purchase food at the cafeterias, cafes and some vending machines at these campuses, accumulate points based on how much is spent. The points can be used to redeem free food and drinks.

“I noticed the software loyalty cards use and wanted to implement that software into Canteen and MDC to make it easier for students to buy food,” said Diego Castillo, the Canteen District Operations Manager for Florida, who first thought of the card this summer.

Under the Compass Group corporation, Canteen provides food service at some of the Miami Dade College campuses as well as numerous other schools, hospitals and businesses. The third-party company has been running the vending and dining services at the Kendall, North, and Homestead campuses since August.

Castillo worked with 24-year-old Miami Dade College marketing major Roy Perez-Tejera, the company’s new social media coordinator, in early September of this year. They approached  campus administration leaders like North Campus Senior Director of Campus Administration Fermin Vazquez, and proposed the idea.

They also went to Senior Director Administrator Brian Stokes at  Kendall Campus and Director of Campus Administration Tania Acosta at Homestead Campus and got approved there as well.

“We got on-the-spot approval,” Perez-Tejera said.

To sign up for the reward program, users must follow Canteen on one of three social media sites—Instagram, Twitter or Facebook—and get a free loyalty rewards card from the head cafeteria cashiers. On every purchase, users can rack up points and use those points to redeem specific items for free.

For example, drinks such as Red Bull or Cafe Bustelo can help one accumulate 10 loyalty points. There is a 25 point minimum to redeem items. Redeemed items can accumulate additional points.

The program was refined by Perez-Tejera, who decided to use social media to let people know they are eligible for the card. He started promoting it in late September.

“Everyone has social media, so it’s an easy way to give students access to the program,” Perez-Tejera said. “Also through our pages, they can see what the meals are and how they’re made, giving us more exposure to the MDC community.”

Canteen consumers are encouraged to leave comments on the social media pages to improve Canteen’s food production and food service, providing a bridge between Canteen and students.

The social media pages have about 800 followers total, and half of those are due to the new Rewards Card. Recently, Canteen gave the entire MDC women’s basketball team loyalty cards.

“I think it’s a tremendous idea,” said Rowan Charles, a 19-year-old North Campus physician assistant and dentistry student. “I use the card every time I purchase an item at the cafeteria or Lakeside Cafe.”

People using the card can also check their point balance at the bottom of every receipt they get when purchasing items, with some information on what they can redeem. They can also ask the cashiers to check their balance.

The program does not plan to expand because Canteen only oversees the dining services at Kendall, North and Homestead.

“We know students are on a budget,” Castillo said, “It’s a way to give back to the MDC community.”