Campus dining providers on meal delivery challenges

How well are campus dining programs doing with meal delivery offerings, and what are some challenges to consider?
By: | Issue: March, 2019
February 25, 2019
DINNER IS SERVED—Meal delivery services are becoming an expected part of campus dining programs.DINNER IS SERVED—Meal delivery services are becoming an expected part of campus dining programs.

“Delivery is part of the major modern retail challenge facing higher ed: merging the convenience already offered in the market with the operational systems that run day-to-day campus life. There is no question that dining programs need to do internal delivery well to stay competitive. Few do it now. Meal plans and proximity create huge embedded advantages. To succeed, administrators will need to enhance technology and create logistics plans that include public safety, parking, facilities, etc.” —Ben Anderson, director of business development, Tapingo

“Delivery service as a concept is evolving, and university dining programs are having to rethink their strategies to meet this generation’s elevated expectations, such as better quality, variety and availability. To achieve a sustainable solution—i.e., to increase revenue and maintain customer satisfaction—administrators must solve some key issues, including security, compliance, testing and, ultimately, user acceptance of the solution.” —Kevin Rettle, vice president, global offer development, Sodexo Universities

“There is ample opportunity for the success of these programs, which are in many cases being developed as solutions for schools to keep more students on campus. However, the success of this initiative is dependent on streamlining inevitable kinks in the process. A challenge that we’ve faced personally, and continue to improve upon, is scheduling delivery drivers. When addressing this challenge, we asked ourselves if our delivery program should be available several hours a day versus all the time. We also needed to figure out how to establish appropriate lead time, and how many drivers to have on staff.” —Andrew Shaner, general manager, Metz Culinary Management at Niagara University in New York

“Technology like dining apps and self-order kiosks for to-go food is successful with students. Our goal is to help create spaces that engage students through socialization, where they can study and dine. Whether they eat in or order ahead for takeout, we provide a flexible dining experience.” —Paul Kowalczyk, managing director, Aladdin, a part of the Elior North America family of companies

“The future of campus delivery is robotic. Working with companies such as Starship to take a holistic view of all campus delivery needs and how they might be accomplished through artificial intelligence may make food delivery more viable than it has been in the past.” —Maisie Ganzler, chief strategy and brand officer, Bon Appétit Management Company

Main story: Campus dining convenience: Food delivery and mobile ordering options