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Big names, small ops

While many operators are developing their own in-house brands, sometimes nothing but the big names will do. That’s where Lindenwood University’s priorities fell during an overhaul last fall. The Saint Charles, Mo., school—which has an undergraduate population of slightly more than 8,000—subsequently opened outposts of Qdoba, Chick-fil-A and Caribou Coffee. Here’s how Lindenwood went about the process. 

1. “Almost everybody knows [large brands] and is comfortable with them already,” says Joe Scherer, director of operations for Lindenwood’s foodservice partner. He suggests operators form a partnership with a support company before approaching their brand of choice.

2. “Ultimately, if all your ducks are in a row, it’s not a hard process. You have to follow the details and do it right.” Scherer cautions FSDs not to underestimate the prework involved, including ensuring that sufficient space is available.

3. “[Adding big brands] just increases the excitement of the overall program.” The director says Lindenwood has since seen an 8% increase in overall participation. A major brand’s presence brings in new customers, from on-campus residents to commuters. 

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