Baylor School is an impressive campus. Set on the banks of the Tennessee River, the school serves grades six through 12, but it resembles a college campus in more ways than one. As a coed, day and boarding college prep school, the school nurtures 1,000 students from 25 countries into college-bound scholars and future leaders. Of course, an important part of this is providing three square meals each day.
The Sodexo team at Baylor provides students a nutritious and delicious meal plan, but it was time for the facility to be updated in tune with the top-notch Baylor experience. In Guerry Dining Hall, I was excited to bring my food merchandising experience to the table. That’s where I met Joe Flippen, general manager of Guerry Dining Hall for Sodexo.
Together Joe and I browsed products from the Hubert Company catalog and our online assortment to get a sense for what they liked and what they wanted to accomplish in the renovated cafeteria. During this meeting I took it from overwhelming book to designed look for Baylor. Back at the office, I used Joe’s blueprints of the working space, cooking space, and serving space as well as their menu, to determine the products and quantities needed. I created a working quote with pictures for each food station, including a salad bar and pizza bar.
My goal was to provide Baylor a one-stop solution so they could focus on the food and other aspects of their project. Below is what Joe had to say about working with Hubert.
Tell us the background of your school dining hall. What spurred the renovation project?
Joe Flippen: “This building was built in the 1980s and designed for 500 students, and now we have 1,100 students. The equipment was getting taxed every day. We had 35 years of operating that way. Capital campaign for the money really spurred the action of renovating. It has been a pretty big to-do on campus with a few ribbon cuttings, ceremonies and tours to showcase the new dining hall.”
Click here to view a slide show of before and after photos from the Baylor School dining hall remodel.
Are you planning a cafeteria renovation or upgrade? Contact Hubert for insight and ideas.
As a consultant for food service operators, Hubert provides insight on compliance, trends and best practices. How did this help with your dining hall project?
Joe: “Hubert was suggested by the regional Sodexo chef. After the first site visit, the process didn’t take long; in about seven days we received our customized Front of the House Smallwares Package with patterns and templates to match our plan. We just changed quantities and added a few items. Stephanie put it all together with little work from me other than two follow up phone calls. She ordered all the product and had it scheduled to be delivered during the summer on a day that worked best in my schedule.
“All of the items showed up on pallets grouped together by location and labeled by pizza area, salad bar, etc. All we had to do was open the boxes and put them on the line. It saved a lot of time—at least three weeks of organizing. Overall, my main focus is getting the food out for people to eat, so the service that Stephanie provided by customizing our front of house smallwares package is priceless.
“I had never been through a whole building renovation and I was serving as Project Manager. My phone never stopped ringing. Stephanie’s behind the scenes work was priceless to me. If I didn’t have her I would have never been able to merchandise the food in such a great way. For her to provide that one-stop shop, it was incredibly helpful. Hubert brought innovation and idea givers. I have never had that experience working with a supplier without going to research all of the items myself first.”
Accommodating students with food allergies may be a tricky but required for food service operators. Read about Purdue University’s experience addressing food allergies.
What reaction has your dining hall received from students and guests?
Joe: “The goal was really to get a new space to accommodate 1,100 kids and we achieved that goal. It’s a show-piece, some people that have seen the space before comment each time they see it they are more impressed.
“The chef does a top-notch job and the food is great. Now the place goes with the food. It all matches. The funny thing is, the food is the same, but Hubert showed us how to merchandise the food with smaller portions. Hubert brought food presentation to my plate and they delivered. Students will comment about how much better the food is, but really the presentation is the perceived increased value!
“The school across town has come over to tour the building a few times and were so impressed they called Hubert to help with their renovation as well.”
“I love the renovations to the Dining Hall. It’s just unbelievable! They’ve made so much space to spread out and find what you want. We have many choices and the food is always very good.”
“The dining hall is even nicer when it’s less crowded at dinner. The food is just as good as lunch, plus they have the soda machine and the soft serve ice cream machine available! They offer great variety.”
“I love dinner. The dining hall is not only prettier and more functional since the renovation, but the food seems to be even better. I always eat with some friends before heading back to the dorm for study hours.”
“The dining hall is amazing this year. Healthy food is important to me as an athlete and they offer great choices. I usually try several different things.”
How would you sum up your overall experience in working with Hubert?
Joe: “I have been with Sodexo for 20 years and I only bought from Hubert sparingly. Hubert always had the nice items, but it was perceived as expensive. But now after working with Stephanie, the catalog and pricing, I don’t see any reason why any one would buy from anyone else. Pricing is similar across the board to all other suppliers and Hubert has nicer items. Originally, I was scared because of price, but that was just a fear of what I didn’t know. After working with Stephanie, all of the items were high quality and the price was right on budget. I would definitely recommend anyone in the food service industry to Hubert.”
Connect with Hubert on Twitter, where we’re tweeting about #schoollunch every day.