In 2014 Drew University retained B&D to conduct a comprehensive assessment of its foodservice facilities, operations, and existing contract. The university wished to use the study’s findings as a guide when addressing the future development of its dining program and as a basis for upcoming contract renegotiations with its current dining operator. Our scope of work included focus group interviews with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and foodservice employees to understand current foodservice satisfaction levels and to gain qualitative insights into sensitivities and issues previously unconsidered. A peer benchmarking analysis was performed using nationally recognized programs as a comparison with the university’s meal plan participation, dining operations, and catering revenues. In addition, we conducted a web-based survey of all university students, faculty, and staff, performed meal plan and operating statement reviews, and examined the university’s supplier diversity and utilization of regional agricultural resources participation. A thorough review of the contract with the current dining operator also was conducted. We concluded that facility improvements would help drive foot traffic, increase revenues, promote social interaction, and improve student price/value perceptions. Improvements were proposed in the areas of equipment, food offering diversity, housekeeping, compliance procedures, signage, and the use of social media to increase sales. Changes to the university’s accounting and financial improvements also were proposed, along with revisions to the dining operator’s contract to be used in upcoming renewal negotiations.
We were retained again in 2015, this time to assist the university with a request for proposals process to select a foodservice management company, and to provide pre-design programming and operational perspective on the layout and design of the university’s Dining Commons. Additionally, we were tasked with helping the university hire an architect and construction manager, as well as managing the design and construction of the Commons renovation.