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Adapting College Dining to the College-Aged

Entry: Pulse On Dining
The Big Idea: The notion that today's college students are brand- and convenienceoriented is now officially a cliche, and a pretty useless one for anyone looking to design an effective university dining program. However, the Pulse On Dining (POD for short) initiative developed by Chartwells Higher Education has sought to change that by looking much deeper into the needs of emerging college-age generation, the so-called "Millennials" who were born into a post-Cold-War world of affluence, convenience and customization. Currently fully implemented in three Chartwells-managed sites and partially in many others, POD emphasizes an "eat-learn-live" balance that marries variety, quality and customization in food choices with emphases on community, wellness, value and experience, which are the core values of Millennials. At the first POD site, Marywood University, meal plan participation jumped from 51 to 63.5 percent following full implementation of the program, while student satisfaction scores ballooned.

Project Team: Chartwells Higher Education—Holly Hart (Director-Marketing & Communications), Dean Lowden (VP-Support Services); Hospitality Services Inc.—Allan Greenberg, Rachael Baird; Chartwells Projects Division—Karl Behrens, Arthur Oudmayer; Marywood University—Tom Notchick (Director of Dining Services), Jon Barzensky (Executive Chef)

Instilling Customer Service as a Core Value

Entry: Circle of Customer Excellence
The Big Idea: Everyone engaged in selling knows that it is rarely only the product that prompts sales. It is also the way customers are treated (or, more importantly, the way they perceive being treated). This is especially difficult in foodservice environments where front-line staff—who interact the most with customers—are generally at the bottom of the organizational compensation ladder. Sodexho has sought to change this with its ambitious Circle of Customer Excellence program, a comprehensive effort targeted at the college dining segment that seeks to instill in its associates empathy for and understanding of not just customers but also coworkers. For example, one module takes trainees through a "Day in the Life of a Student" to experience the full dining experience from the customer's perspective. Another walks them through every interaction point in a servery, including the stations where they do not work, in order to give them a perspective of their peers' responsibilities. To date, student satisfaction scores have improved by more than 15 percent in the customer service category in sites where COCE has been implemented.

Project Team: Dan Dunne (Senior Marketing Director), Alison Barclay (Senior Marketing Manager); T.J. Schier of Incentivizes Solutions

Food Presentation Maximized and Standardized

Entry: Merchology, the Art & Science of Food Presentation
The Big Idea: While commercial restaurateurs have made a science of plate presentation, the merchandising of food in onsite cafes is too often left to chance or the discretion of the set-up staff or onsite manager. Obviously, the results are catch-as-catch-can, and even when thought is put behind the arrangement, it fails to utilize the best available research. Aramark decided to do something about this with Merchology: the Art & Science of Food Presentation, a five-part proprietary field guide to retail merchandising strategy and tactics that distills years of research and field observations into a clear step-by-step guide for field managers. The result is not only a system-wide adoption of merchandising/food presentation best practices, which helps maximize sales and customer satisfaction, but also uniformity and standardization, which reduces inefficiency and builds the company brand. The core of the Merchology package is its utility. From the simple-to-use, step-bystep Front Line Associate Implementation Guide tool to an audit system/checklist that helps managers confirm that the standards are being met, the program is practical and userfriendly. Topics covered include color blocking, sequencing, customer traffic flow and even the cut and arrangement of each item on a salad bar, complete with diagrams and plenty of photos of ideal arrangements.

Project Team: Ann Marie Solomon (AVP-Merchandising & Promotions Development), Ron Bennett (Director-Merchandising Strategy), George Yunis (Senior Director-Advertising & Promotions), Paul Carr (Corporate Executive Chef), Amanda Kallish (Senior Manager-Merchandising Communications), Judy Muenzberg (Visual Merchandising Manager)

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