By Shelly Turner, 366th Fighter Wing / Published December 17, 2020
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — The Air Force continues to deliver innovative and desirable customer service programs testing an already popular program, Air Force Campus Dining System (CDS) at traditional legacy Food & Beverage operations. The CDS has partnered with Mountain Home AFB to test theories and concepts at participating CDS activities.
Each day around the world, over 38,000 Air Force members on Essential Station Messing (ESM) are provided a variety of entitlements through the Air Force Food & Beverage program. Mountain Home’s Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) Food & Beverage (F&B) operations have been “tooling up” technology and Point of Sale (POS) systems to support CDS – almost a 6 month long process upgrading both hardware and software. Under the CDS test at Mountain Home, active duty Air Force ESM members will have expanded benefits using a portion of their daily ESM entitlement in participating NAF activities.
At most installations, ESM customers are simply limited to food options within Dining Facilities using their entitlements through a system known as CAFÉ – Corporate Automated Foodservice Enterprise. This system allows the Air Force Food & Beverage team located at the Air Force Services Center (AFSVC) under the Air Force Installation Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) in San Antonio, Texas to monitor usage.
“Mountain Home is excited to be the first in the CDS test, allowing our valid Mountain Home ESM customers value added access to our NAF F&B operations,” said Major Ryan M. Davis, 366th Fighter Wing Force Support Squadron commander. “Starting on 18 December, 2020, Mountain Home members who have been authorized by their squadron commanders to participate in the CDS ESM test and validated within our FSS CAFÉ system, can begin using their entitlements at our NAF F&B operations.” Davis said.
The CDS is managed by AFSVC and allows access to those participating NAF operations. ESM members present their CAC for validation in the participating NAF F&B operations, once validated, guests are allowed up to $6 for Breakfast and up to $12 for Lunch or Dinner a day. CDS provides a “sense of community” to participating Food 2.0 locations. ESM members are reminded their entitlement is an individual ESM entitlement, not to be used for anyone else other than the authorized member presenting their CAC to redeem their entitlement. AFSVC manages the system through automating reporting from activity to activity and uses this data to budget and manage the program.
Mountain Home NAF F&B operations participating in the CDS program are the Hackers Grill (Golf), Strikers Grill (Bowling), and a new Gunfighter Grab-n-Go (G3) kiosk on the flight line.
“We are pleased to be implementing CDS at Mountain Home allowing our large ESM population better access to Food and Beverage options, and closer to their work center,” Davis said.
“We are excited to see our customer’s reactions as we continue to provide innovative solutions for our customers,” said Mr. Bill Spencer, Air Force Food & Beverage Division chief. “AFSVC has worked behind the scenes during COVID-19 remotely, upgrading technology and now the final details on the extensive database and software build to support the over 658 ESM CDS customers at Mountain Home,” Spencer said.
The Wagon Wheel Dining Facility at Mountain Home is also being upgraded and will implement a new Credit Card charge processing system for our customers. This too, has been in the works to test as part of the CAFÉ’ modernization across the Air Force. The DFAC continues to update weekly menus, expanding more and more variety of healthy food options that will also include plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan selections.
“The Air Force Services Center continues to deliver installations customer friendly food and beverage solutions where we can,” said Jim Krueger, AFSVC Air Force Food and Beverage Strategic Initiatives chief. “While we desire to expand CDS and deliver on innovation and transformation under our Health Food Initiatives, it takes upfront installation partners, funding, coordination and agreed partnerships across the enterprise.”
“The Air Force is the only branch of the service uniquely structured under Air Force Installation Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) to deliver Campus Dining, as both APF and NAF food and beverage operations are managed and supported with the same technology systems at AFSVC,” Krueger said. “The Air Force is the only branch of service to also manage all F&B operations using an ala carte system, allowing the individual member to simply select only what they desire, similar to a college and university Campus Dining System, using their Common Access Card (CAC)”.
Mountain Home is the first of six installations scheduled to test and implement CDS in FY21; Hurlburt Field, FL; Maxwell AFB, AL; Peterson AFB, CO; Misawa AB, Japan and Incirlik AB, Turkey all are scheduled to implement and test CDS in the next 8 months. If successful, the Air Force is seeking the funding to deliver CDS to the rest of the Air Force starting in FY22.
Check out ALL the food & beverage offerings at Mountain Home at https://mhafbfun.com/food/