February 18, 2014

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Northern Utah

February 18, 2014

WSU Students Design Software for Special Needs Restaurant Employees

Ogden – A team of WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY computer science students created a new system to help a local restaurant fill orders more smoothly. RUNWAY RUBY’S, located on HILL AIR FORCE BASE, primarily employs adults with special needs.

“Walking into the restaurant, you wouldn’t know that the employees have any disabilities,” says Richard Fry, WSU associate professor of computer science. “But when the employees get flustered or things go totally wrong, you really see the stress and the problems.”

The team developed a web-based queuing system to address those problems. Designed with the special needs of the employees in mind, the system will enable lunch rushes to flow more efficiently, increase customer satisfaction and lower employee stress levels.

The restaurant currently completes all orders by hand. “It’s an opportunity for confusion, and it’s time consuming,” restaurant manager Scott Preston says.

In addition, little organization exists when the tickets reach the employees. With the current system, the tickets are hung up in a line, giving the employees too many options. “If an employee likes to make turkey sandwiches, and a turkey sandwich comes up, it doesn’t matter if it’s the 10th one in line,” says Frank Eddy, WSU computer science student. “He or she will make the turkey sandwich and forget the pastrami one that’s first in line.”

The 10-member group of students had a number of issues to address. With a grant for equipment from PIONEER ADULT REHABILITATION CENTER (PARC), the nonprofit foundation that owns the restaurant, the group set out to create software to meet the employees’ needs.

The final design was simple, plain and structured in a familiar format. After an order is entered into the system at the register, it is digitally queued to the appropriate production line. The next order in the queue appears on a mounted tablet, and employees tap on the item they want to complete. Once an employee selects a menu item, it disappears from all other devices, eliminating the chance of an item being prepared multiple times.

Once the items are complete, “runner” employees receive notifications on cell phones to indicate the order is ready for delivery to the customer.

“I’m very impressed with what the students have accomplished,” Fry says. “In two and a half months, they bonded as a team, learned the technology, interviewed the client and created the project. The design of the custom queuing and interface is really novel. It hasn’t been done in traditional restaurants.”

The team will launch the project and train employees over spring break. Team members also will provide ongoing support over the final month of the semester.

Cache County – ZHEJIANG WALT TECHNOLOGIES announced plans to open a manufacturing facility as part of LIN MANUFACTURING AND DESIGN. The new operation is expected to add 130 to 150 new jobs to the workforce.

Promontory – NASA and ATK completed two avionics tests for the solid rocket boosters for NASA’s new heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). The tests operated the boosters thrust control system.

Ogden – GOLDENWEST CREDIT UNION plans to expand its corporate campus by adding a second facility in Washington Terrace City, in Weber County. Goldenwest purchased the vacated building that originally housed the Family Fresh Foods grocery store.

Ogden – R&O CONSTRUCTION COMPANY was named the general contractor on the first Yard House Restaurant in Oregon. Located at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland, the 17,000-square-foot, Dardon-owned restaurant will have offices on the second level. Construction is expected to be completed in May.

Providence – CELTIC BANK opened a Cache Valley mortgage loan production office in Providence. The new office is located at 545 W. 465 North, Ste. 120.

Ogden – Large format digital printing company VISION GRAPHICS, based in Salt Lake, acquired OGDEN BLUE. Additionally, Ogden Blue moved operations to a new location at 1435 Wall Avenue.

Ogden – WADSWORTH DEVELOPMENT GROUP completed the redevelopment of a 2,037 square-foot building on Washington Blvd occupied by STARBUCKS, which opened in January.

Logan – The CACHE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE and THE LOGAN DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE awarded businesses and individuals who have impacted Cache Valley at the chamber’s annual banquet. Some of the recipients were Dell Loy Hansen, Bruce Bugbee, THE SISTER SHOP and PEPPERIDGE FARM.



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