Tight space design: Munchy Mart, University of Northern Colorado

Designing around three columns was just one of many of the Munchy Mart's challenges.

When the campus university center was looking to make a few upgrades, dining services was trying to decide how to best serve customers' needs, says Brown. One of those needs was that customers desired a c-store, which the campus didn't have elsewhere. When the copy center moved out, Brown was asked what he thought about putting a c-store in the location, and his first concern was the size—it was less than 900 square feet.

"We were able to negotiate some space behind that location that used to be storage area," Brown says. "We got an extra 300 or 400 [square] feet to put in a walk-in cooler and a little bit of dry storage."

Brown then brought in Bakergroup, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based design consultants, to give the space its retail feel.

"I didn't want it to be stark white like a gas station c-store," Brown says. I wanted it to be much more modern and an upbeat space. If you feel good about the space, it’s my opinion that [customers will] buy more."

A lot of the retail feel of the space is created by the lighting and the bright colors. "As we developed through that process I kept saying I wanted a fun and funky feel," Brown says. "I think the green really highlights a lot of the fresh product that we have in the store. We wanted curves because the room itself was such a shoebox." 

Brown also had students involved in naming the store from the beginning.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

FSD Resources