Shortages of everything from food items to packaging and disposables have plagued onsite dining programs for much of the past year, and the situation doesn’t look to fully resolve itself anytime soon, not with ongoing logistic bottlenecks, staffing woes and raw ingredient availability sabotaging the supply chain from manufacturing through distribution.
The situation runs from dire—when deliveries fall short of meeting even minimum requirements for adequate meal service—to inconvenient or just plain irritating, such as the recent predicament at Liberty University, where the Sodexo Liberty Dining team found retail units in a predicament.
“We were sent cups and lids that were incompatible with each other,” explains District Manager Duane Davis. “This led to lids falling off cups, leakage, and unfortunate spills for customers.”
Photo credit: Sodexo
Photo: GP PRO Automated Sealing Machines are easy for customers to use and provide spill-resistant seals to avoid leaks and spills
At one point, lids could not be sourced at all…
“We knew heading into the next academic year, we didn’t want to find ourselves, or put our customers, in that scenario again,” says Davis. “Our goal was to eliminate supply chain issues of ever-changing assorted styles of cups and lids.”
Enter GP PRO Automated Sealing Machines, which are designed to be fast, efficient and easy for customers to use, and which provide spill-resistant seals to avoid leaks and spills.
The first automated sealing machine was introduced at the Tilley Student Center, with plans calling for adding them at additional areas such as Hey Cow, Star Ginger and the Tinney Café, and then potentially throughout all locations.
Another new equipment addition is the Costa Coffee Smart Café in the main campus convenience store, The Grid, and within the Simply-To-Go units in both the School of Business and the College of Medicine. The machine makes hot and ice espresso-based coffee drinks, including lattes.
“We know our campus is chock full of coffee lovers, especially based on the lines we see at our on-campus Starbucks location, so we wanted to provide an option for those seeking a quick coffee option without sacrificing quality,” offers Davis. As an added convenience, participants in the University’s Flames Cash program can use it with the machine.
Davis said he saw the Costa Coffee Smart Café at a Food Show in Chicago and felt it would serve as another option for customers to get a coffee drink without having to wait in a line for a barista and cashier. It also provides a coffee option available outside of normal business hours.