Fresh out of high school, company founder Jim Swarts buys his first computer and, as a self-employed freelance programmer, begins offering software solutions and custom coding to local businesses.
So you want to know a little more about us. That's a great idea! Instead of boring you with a long narrative, we offer you this timeline that shows our growth from a one-person operation to a full-fledged S corporation, from a lone programmer to a team of dedicated professionals that care about your success.
By taking a few minutes to read the timeline, you will discover how we became experienced in food service management, learn about our innovations, and get a sense of our dedication to school food service.
We know the timeline looks a little lengthy, but that speaks to our longevity as a solutions provider. Don't worry because we have included some fun facts too. We hope you enjoy learning about us and our products.
In addition to working independently at night and on weekends, Swarts works for a father-son business as a programmer and attains valuable experience with general accounting software, banking software, and database management systems.
Seeking growth opportunities, Swarts takes a position in the business department of a local school district, where he gains experience with school financial accounting and food service operations over the next 16 years.
Swarts begins offering his Hard Disk Application Menu software as shareware. It becomes popular with area school districts beginning to integrate personal computers into their administrative offices. Swarts receives fan mail from a user located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
As a proof of concept, Swarts develops Fund Accounting System using the Formula IV database management system. The software is licensed by his employer and remains in use when Swarts leaves the district in June 2000.
Food Service Management Tools (FSMT) is created, and the first copy is licensed.
Seeking a more professional appeal, Swarts forms JAS Software as a sole proprietorship.
JAS Software works with Font Publishing, a sole-proprietorship of Brad Boyink, to redesign the look of FSMT's documentation and screens. Boyink offers his service as an independent sales and support representative for JAS Software.
FSMT POSitive, our first sales register system, is released for computers running DOS. Student information and sales are updated through floppy disk exchanges.
Through combined efforts with Font Publishing, JAS Software's client base grows 33 percent.
JAS Software merges with Font Publishing to form a two-person partnership, and we launch our first corporate website.
The company's first software to bare the Meal Magic name, a POS sale register, is released for Windows 95/98/NT. Central office management software will follow.
With business booming, we follow the advise of our financial advisor and incorporate.
Our Meal Magic POS software is featured on the cover of First Hand News.
Ready for new adventures as part of corporate America, Boyink becomes our first full-time employee. Our second full-time employee is hired to begin work in 2000.
We move to commercial office space in downtown Grand Haven, Michigan, so we can add staff. In a short time, we have a small team dedicated to our growing customer base.
Mid-year, Swarts ends his public school career to dedicate himself full-time to the company.
Having outgrown our office, we move to a single-occupant office building that will be our home for the next 17 years.
Meal Magic Hello! allows parents to telephone a personal computer at their school district to check their children's food service balances, review deposit and purchase histories, and make deposits. Text-to-speech capabilities provided by AT&T Natural Voices technology begin their interactions with a peppy "Hello!"
Meal Magic .Net Suite, later Meal Magic Suite, is released as successor to Meal Magic Classic. The new software features the first browser-based, .Net-driven, centralized management solution for school food service.
President Bush signs the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, which includes provisions allowing for online submissions of free and reduced-priced applications in response to research we provided to the USDA through our work with the Senate Agricultural Committee and the House Education Sub-committee for Education and the Workforce.
We remodel our office to include an educational center so we can host user trainings, giving users an escape from their busy offices to learn in a relaxing environment. Entertainment events over the years include city tours, boat rides, dinner, our pseudo-mascot dog, and the world's biggest collection of Funko toys.
Early in the year, we meet with USDA to discuss electronic signatures and security for our upcoming online applications solution. In July, our LunchApp website is the first cloud-based means for parents to apply for free and reduced-priced meals.
Meal Magic Protégé is released. The software, which runs on Windows CE devices, comes pre-installed on an HP iPaq for $49 per month and receives cover-story treatment by Business Solutions magazine.
Our corporate mascot is immortalized in bobblehead form as part of Funko's Wacky Wobbler product line.
We enter the world of online payments with the launch of our LunchDeposit website, under which we are the payment provider.
Hewlett-Packard recognizes us a premier partner by producing brochures highlighting our use of HP products, such as their rp5000 hardware for our POS software, laptops for training, and iPaq handheld devices for Meal Magic Protégé.
Meal Magic Corporation ranks #1956 on the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest growing private companies, with a 185% growth over 3 years.
We add nutritional analysis functionality, which, after successful negotions with USDA reviewers, allows nutrition facts to be entered onto a form that mimics the food industry's standard nutrition label. Meal Magic .Net Suite is the first school nutrion product to use a nutrition label data entry form.
The Adventures of Meal Magic Kid comic book is published. The 18-page, full-color, graphic story tells how the central character helps schools implement our solutions to make their lives easier. It even contains a recipe for Cinnamon Sticky Buns!
We discontinue offering direct merchant services and launch SendMoneyToSchool as a replacement for LunchDeposit. Schools can choose their payment provider from a number of third-party companies.
Meal Magic Presto!, the first iPad-based POS system for K-12 schools, is released. Apple reviewers praised the design at their Worldwide Developers Conference, stating that it was one of the rare apps that grasp Apple's design concepts.
With increasing demand for hosted solutions, we introduce Meal Magic Cloud, which helps lower district costs by delivering food service management as a SaaS solution.
COVID lockdowns require us to transition to working from home. Quick reacting allowed us to vacate our office a few days prior to the start of the state-mandated lockdown.
Realizing the difficulties schools will face when in-person teaching resumes in the fall, we developed our OSS+ add-on modules to allow schools to accept online orders, offer curbside meal distribution, and practice social distancing.
With the release of Meal Magic Family Portal, we retire our LunchApp website. Families can apply for meal benefits and submit Household Information Reports with the new service.
SendMoneyToSchool and MyLunchAccount get a complete redo and become part of Meal Magic Family Portal.
We're going to change the face of school food service software again in 2023.