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
granola bars

Where possible, we make grab-and-go items reimbursable. For example, if we’re serving a fruit and milk smoothie, we let students take a granola bar or other grain component to make it count as a meal.

Ideas and Innovation
unsung heroes graphic

Febin Bellamy, a senior at Georgetown University, is the founder of Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit that features service workers on college campuses in man-on-the-street-style Facebook interviews. This year, Bellamy is working with a dozen schools to launch their own chapters of the storytelling platform. Here’s what he’s learned about staff shoutouts.

Q: Why did you decide to start Unsung Heroes?

A: One day I started a conversation with a custodial worker in the business school that I would see all the time. I learned that we had a lot of similarities; for instance, we both wanted to...

Ideas and Innovation
bolognese sauce

We’re trying to bring scratch cooking to all the elementary schools, but we’re taking it dish by dish. Right now, we satellite a lot of the dishes out. This month we made a Bolognese from scratch, and went to each of the schools to talk to them about the process and see if they could implement it. It helps us find out the hurdles and what they are going to need to make it work.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

FSD Resources