Nestled in the farmlands of Upland, Indiana, Taylor University is a respected Christian liberal arts college. With about 2,000 students, Taylor places strong emphasis on leadership and service. The University and their food service management partner, Creative Dining Services (CDS), recognized that the campus dining experience is important to prospective students, especially at a university with minimal off-campus options.
Food Service Concepts Explored at the Center for Creative Merchandising
Taylor University decided to upgrade the look and feel of their Dining Commons and smaller Grille. So, they reached out to Hubert for input and guidance. The Hubert team leapt into action with extensive research and a campus visit. We reviewed the current facilities, color schemes and branded concepts from CDS. This work culminated in a gathering at Hubert’s office to map out a strategy in the Center for Creative Merchandising.
The Center for Creative Merchandising (CCM) is Hubert’s exclusive interactive merchandising experience. In this test environment, food service operators collaborate and experiment. With new concepts and products, we turn ideas into reality.
Taylor University Talks About Changing Plans
Taylor University, Creative Dining Services and Hubert team members ended a productive day with a plan of action. Shortly after this visit, plans changed a bit, as Brenda Christian, retail manager for Taylor University, explains.
Q. What happened after that initial CCM visit?
Brenda Christian: “When donations for a new campus center came in faster than we expected, the decision was made to move much of The Grille operations to that facility. With new concepts to implement as well, time was of the essence and we only had a few months before opening.”
Q. What was the goal of moving operations to this new space?
Brenda: “We wanted to create more opportunity to serve a wider variety of foods at a quicker pace. Matt Riley, our director of Dining Services, hit the pavement to ask students what they wanted and many of their ideas coincided with existing Creative concepts. We settled on Dashi, an Asian concept that’s very popular with the lunch and dinner crowds…Fresh, a salad bar…and Emma & Charlie’s, a pizza concept that’s a hit with the late night crowd!”
Spice Up Your Salad Bar or Other Dining Concepts
Small changes in displayware, signage or other aspects of your food merchandising can improve the campus dining experience. Subtle differences like colors and shapes can increase the perceived value of food and as a result, student satisfaction.
How Hubert Helped Improve University Food Service
Q. How would you sum up your overall experience with Hubert?
Brenda: “To get perspective from people who merchandise food professionally was a huge help! John was instrumental in finding templates, countertop displays, utensils, pans, serveware and more for our themed concepts. He was great at suggesting what would look good together, visited our facility to take pictures, created timely quotes that I could pass up the chain, had our items labeled for each station and even made a trip here to help unpack everything when it arrived!”
I am extremely satisfied with the time that John has spent with me and the attention to detail he has provided me and Creative Dining Services. We can get our smallwares from other companies, but the passionate service Hubert provides such as our visit to CCM, helping onsite, and the consistent follow up on our needs is a service we wouldn’t we get anywhere else.”
As for the new dining area, students love it and faculty and staff have only positive things to say!”
Brenda: “The home office at Creative Dining Services was instrumental in connecting us. They knew of Hubert and their CCM and encouraged us to use it to see what did and didn’t work for our operations and concepts. Even though we initially went in with other goals in mind, we saw so many great ideas that eventually found their way to the new facility as well.”
Contact Hubert for ideas to improve your campus dining experience.