educationtechnologyinsights

Horizon Software: Integrated Food Service and Online Payments Software for K12

Jim Hoefflin, President
Have you ever been to a restaurant where you had a long wait, they were out of your favorite selection, they accepted only cash, or you had to interact with a disgruntled employee? You probably weren’t a happy customer.

Now take that experience and multiply the number of customers by 10. All the customers are between the ages of 5 and 18, and they all have to be served in a 30 minute time period. Sounds like a disaster, doesn’t it? It's a typical scenario with K12 School Nutrition.

Horizon Software addresses this by offering school nutrition programs, the best point of sale, food service management, and online payment software in the market. "Not only do our solutions help millions of students get through lines faster, but also help reduce staff workload, ensure compliance with government regulations, assist with cost control and decision-making, and improve parent satisfaction," says Jim Hoefflin, President of Horizon Software. The company’s comprehensive, scalable front-of-house and back-of-house technology is designed to automate and modernize both school nutrition programs and payments for school fees and activities.

The top-of-the line modern and comprehensive web-based solutions for K12 include Solana—for school nutrition operations, and MyPaymentsPlus—for online payments for meals and school fees and activities. With modules for POS, student eligibility management and inventory management to menu planning, online payments and analytics, Horizon's solutions work hand-in-hand to give districts a single comprehensive solution for multiple needs.

For instance, with the POS, users can customize menus with drag and drop feature that increase line speed. They can view at-a-glance alerts like allergies, meal purchase status, and even load students in a queue to process or modify transactions in any order.


Our job is to make the jobs of our customers easier, so that they can focus on what really matters—serving theirs


Districts, on the other hand, can manage a complete inventory from ordering to receiving to storage to distribution, and also plan and create appealing menus for millions of children, while keeping an eye on costs. Parents can fill out applications for meal benefits online and even use MyPaymentsPlus to view purchase history, set balance alerts, and activate recurring payments—online or via a mobile application. It gives districts the ability to invoice for library fines, accept donations, host events, collect form information and more. "The full product suite is cloud-based and doesn’t require manual upgrades. Also, school districts are not responsible for maintaining the data and hardware necessary to store that information," says Hoefflin. This facilitates on-demand scalability, increased data security, and much lower up-front costs compared to a traditional client-hosted model.

Peak to Peak, a charter school located in Lafayette, Colorado took a bold step in moving its school nutrition program to a cloud-based system in the middle of the school year. With no IT resources on staff, Peak to Peak adopted Horizon’s cloud-based solution and started using PIN pads in their four serving lines, which, at its initial stage was expected to cause some hiccups. But, management was astonished to see how the system worked seamlessly without a hitch, with students remembering their PINs and cashiers not having to figure out student names and numbers in a loud lunchroom. All this is made possible, as Horizon uses the latest available tools to develop the functionality necessary to solve a variety of complex business needs, specifically for the K12 market.

“Today our systems are installed at more than 700 school districts in over 10,000 schools across the U.S. and more than 2,000,000 users take advantage of our technology,” asserts Hoefflin. Going forward, “We will further make our software feature-rich enough for the largest districts in the U.S. to use, yet simple enough for even the smallest of operations to be able to learn and operate,” Hoefflin signs off.