In an all-day media event , Aramark Corp. in February officially opened its new Innovation Center in Philadelphia, consolidating in one contemporary, 53,000 sq.ft., facility its R&D, product development and facility design and construction resources. The center accommodates a cross-functional team of 120 full-time professionals with expertise in consumer research, brand strategy, culinary development, facility design, construction, retail merchandising and promotion.
Housed in the historic Wanamaker Building in downtown Philadelphia, the Center contains interactive displays of stateofthe-art retail technology such as cashless vending, touch screen ordering and virtual facility design tours. It also houses a large test kitchen and lets the company display mockups of segment-specific concepts such as its UBU Lounge for high schools.
The Center will clearly be used as a marketing tool by the company, and serves as a visual showcase of Aramark's capabilities, programs and concepts to clients, suppliers and market analysts.
"The Center serves as our showcase for innovation," says Senior Vice President of Marketing Chris Malone.
The space in the Wanamaker Building was acquired by Aramark in early 2005, and renovated over the course of five months. Employees began occupying the building last summer, with the official opening earlier this year.
Above (l. to r.): Dan Muenzberg, design team leader, discussing the food displays in merchandising; Doug Martinidez, VP culinary development, in the new Aramark test kitchen with Jenifer Bland-Campbell, MS,RD and executive chef Michael Crane. At right: Chris Malone, senior VP, marketing, offering an overview of the company's Dining Styles research findings; and Alde Ortega, VP design development, demonstrating how station decor can be instantly changed with what he referred to as "mood in a tube" magnetic signage.