Dining flexibility increases meal plan sales

Published in FSD Update

Students at Lynn University, in Boca Raton, Fla., are reaping the benefits of their new 24-hour dining access. And because of the new dining hours, they’re enjoying new class schedules, too.

Under the previous foodservice provider, the standard 19 weekly meals were only available during specific breakfast, lunch and dinner hours and within a separate late-night facility. The format forced the university to develop schedules around the dining hours to ensure students had enough time to eat. This, however, left the university with few options for mid-day and evening classes. That all changed when Sodexo came on board during the summer of 2013.

Sodexo also opened up dining hours to allow for 24-hour access—causing a shift not just for the dining program but also for the university. As students can now satisfy food needs at any time of the day, the university is no longer limited when developing class schedules and has begun to offer classes at times previously blocked for eating. Students wishing to eat on the meal plan can now build schedules to their liking, choosing classes during the standard mid-day lunchtime or later in the evening if they prefer.

Before the university tried “not to schedule things during the lunch hour,” explains Brian Bowser, general manager of dining services for Sodexo at Lynn. But with 24-hour access, “students are given the opportunity to eat when they want, they don’t have to have that block of time, and the university is finding that students are inclined to have class later in the day,” a time when commuter students typically attend classes.

The change has been “phenomenal,” Bowser says. “Customer feedback and response has been great and [there’s been an] increase in student satisfaction, meal plans being utilized and meal plan sales.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In a bid to beef up its presence in sports arenas and a variety of other large venues, Sodexo will acquire foodservice vendor Centerplate for $675 million.

Sodexo says the deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, will more than double its global footprint.

Centerplate, which serves as the foodservice operator for a number for stadiums, convention halls and other event spaces, brought in revenues of $998 million for the year ending June 2017, according to Sodexo. Centerplate was purchased five years ago by Olympus Partners, a private-equity company...

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

FSD Resources