A Little Less Onion Please

A request from the student to the chef preparing her lunch at the exhibition cooking station. She was among opening day customers at a college’s new campus center café.

When she received her lunch, she joined fellow students in the airy seating area, graced on three sides with full-length windows overlooking the tree-shaded campus.

That’s not the way it was in prior years. A dimly-lit servery was reached via a narrow stairway from the main floor of the campus center. The seating area was windowless. Fewer than 300 of 12,000 students made the trip on any day.

We were retained by the college to design a new food service facility as part of the campus center renovation. We began with an in-depth assessment of the food service operation and its place in the campus community; makeup of the student body and faculty; campus traffic, and other factors. We were looking for reasons why the café was so lightly patronized and what could be done to change the pattern.

We Found:

  • A fast food kiosk on the main floor attracted more customers than the café. Students preferred the choices and quick service there.
  • There was an exodus from the campus at noon every day. Many students had only morning classes.
  • The café could not be relocated to a more accessible ground floor location.

The new café features lively service stations across one long wall, anchored by a deli section at one end and a pizza preparation/service station at the other end. A char-broiler and exhibition cooking stations are in between. Conventional steamtable foods are not offered.

The architect provided two wide stairways connecting the campus center lobby to the café upstairs.

The fast food offerings are now featured in the café. The ground floor kiosk was replaced by a bakery/coffee café in the lobby. The new plan eliminates several duplicate positions and gives the operator greater control and lower labor costs.

The Outcome: The college has an attractive, efficient food service facility that meets students’ and faculty preferences, is profitable to the operator, provide a financial return to the college and is an asset to campus life.

We tailor our efforts to fit your situation.

Talk to us about your vision for your food service operation — Contact Clarion Group

Food Service Consultants
P.O. Box 158,
Kingston, NH 03848-0158

Phone: (603) 642-8011   
Fax: (603) 642-7744

Offering food service management consulting, hospitality services consulting, sustainable dining facility design. Nationwide food service consultants.

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