Chartwells changes Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac Univ., a private, co-ed institution in Hamden, CT, and Chartwells (an operating div. of Compass Group), have been "partners" for the past 16 years. Working closely with the Charlotte, NC–based contractor, Dr. Patrick Healy, the university's sr. v.p. of finance and admin., recently determined to effect changes and improvements in the quality of student life—mainly in the caliber of food and service provided to the 4,700 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students enrolled.

Following several renovations, there are now two additional dining rooms plus a more inviting and open servery/dining room in the original unit: Cafe Q, the main dining hall; the Rathskellar, a coffee house/restaurant cafe; and the Law School Cafe, a limited-offering snack bar.

With a declining-balance meal plan put in place at Healy's suggestion, more than $5 million-a-year in sales is reported for the combined operation—and that's without offering nationally-known branded food chains which Quinnipiac eschews. Chartwells' Profiles in Good Taste—"food made fresh everyday"—is offered instead.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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