By LIFE AT THE MAX, 42d Force Support Squadron / Published July 27, 2021
Each day around the world over 38,000 Air Force members on Essential Station Messing (ESM) are provided a variety of entitlements through Air Force Food & Beverage (F&B) programs. Maxwell/Gunter FSS Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) F&B operations have been “tooling up” technology and Point of Sale (POS) systems to support CDS – an almost 8 month long process with COVID upgrading both hardware and software. Under the CDS test, authorized permanent party active duty Air Force ESM members will have expanded benefits and privileges being able to use a portion of their daily entitlement in participating NAF activities.
Typically, ESM customers are simply limited to food options within Dining Facilities using their entitlements through a system known as CAFÉ – Corporate Automated Foodservice Enterprise. CAFÉ’ allows the Air Force F&B team located at the AFSVC under the Air Force Installation Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) in San Antonio, Texas to monitor and deploy CDS.
“The Maxwell/Gunter FSS team is excited to volunteer in the CDS test, allowing our valid active duty permanently assigned ESM customers value added access to our NAF F&B operations and restaurants,” said Major Jenny Stewart, Maxwell/Gunter Force Support Squadron commander. “ Starting on 1 Aug 21, members who have been authorized by their squadron commanders to participate in the CDS ESM test, providing the required information to our F&B team, validated within our FSS CAFÉ system, will have these expanded benefits at our NAF F&B operations” Stewart said.
CDS managed by AFSVC, extends ESM privileges to participating NAF operations for valid and authorized users, giving them greater access to “healthier” offerings across the campus. Most members live in a dorm but have been limited only to the DFAC adjacent to dormitory part of an installation. CDS provides a “sense of community” to participating locations, focusing on access to food items closer to Airmen’s work centers or where they may be simply relaxing.
ESM members present their CAC for validation, once validated, guests are authorized up to $6 for Breakfast and up to $12 each for Lunch and Dinner per day in our NAF F&B activities for those authorized ESM eligible items.
Campus Dining System (CDS) Day Parts in NAF Food & Beverage operations are as follows:
04:00 AM – 09:59 AM BREAKFAST ESM have access in CDS up to $ 6.00 each day
10:00 AM – 14:59 PM LUNCH ESM have access in CDS up to $ 12.00 each day
15:00 PM – 21:59 PM DINNER ESM have access in CDS up to $ 12.00 each day
22:00PM – 03:59 AM LATE NIGHT ESM have access in CDS up to $ 12.00 each day
ESM members are reminded that their entitlement is for their own personal consumption, not to be used for other than the authorized member presenting their CAC entitlement. AFSVC manages the system through automating reporting from activity to activity and uses this data to budget, audit and manage the program.
Maxwell/Gunter NAF F&B operations participating in the CDS program are the Maxwell Club & Lounge, Maxwell Bowling Center snack bar, Two Putts Grill (Golf), and Rickenbacker’s Touch & Go (Lodging Inn). Additionally, on Gunter Annex, ESM members will have access to the Hanger 42 Coffee and the Gunter Bowling Center snack bar. “We are pleased to be implementing CDS allowing our ESM population better access to Food and Beverage options, to fully enjoy Life at the MAX”, said Stewart
“CDS is a wonderful benefit for those authorized ESM customers. While it doesn’t replace their DFAC, it continues to provide them more “healthier” selections in the convenience of their day, wherever they are. Customers continue to look for innovative solutions and CDS is one of our successes” said Mr. Bill Spencer, Chief, Air Force Food & Beverage Division. “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 active duty Air Force permanent party ESM CDS customers at both Maxwell and Gunter.” Spencer said.
All three dining facilities; The Riverfront Inn, OTS DFAC and Aviation Inn, will be modernized as well as adding credit card charge processing in all locations simultaneously for our customers during the same period. This too, has been in the works to test as part of the CAFÉ’ modernization across the Air Force. All of these dining facilities continue to update weekly menus, expanding more and more variety of healthy food options that will also continue to expand on trendy 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 Chief of Air Force Food and Beverage Strategic Initiatives. “While we desire to expand CDS and deliver on innovation and transformation under our Health Food Initiatives it takes upfront willing installation partners like the Maxwell/Gunter FSS team, funding, coordination and agreed to partnerships across the enterprise.” Krueger said.
“The Air Force is the only branch of the service uniquely structured under Air Force Installation Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) to deliver our popular Campus Dining System, 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)”.
Maxwell/Gunter will be the 4th of six installations scheduled to test and further expand CDS in FY21; Mountain Home AFB, ID; Hurlburt Field, FL and Peterson Garrison have already stood up as volunteer test locations completing the CONUS pilot. Both Misawa AB, Japan and Incirlik AB, Turkey are scheduled to implement and test CDS in the next 6 months. If successful, Air Force is seeking the funding to deliver CDS to the rest of the Air Force starting in FY23.
Check out ALL the food & beverage offerings at both Maxwell and Gunter at https://www.lifeatthemax.us