It’s August, and that means millions of college students are heading back to campuses across the country in the coming weeks. From large public universities to small liberal arts schools, the one thing they all have in common is the need to provide a variety of healthy dining options to their students and staff.
In an era of wood brick pizza ovens, panini bars, kosher-only dining halls, and immersive culture dining experiences, colleges are getting creative when it comes to their food service programs. And with good reason; students are becoming more discerning when it comes to the dining options of their prospective schools, even consulting the increasing number of ‘best college dining’ lists before making their decisions. This drive to differentiate themselves coincides with the need for schools to find creative ways to safely, efficiently and cost-effectively meet student and staff dining needs that emerged during the pandemic.
Mobilized Dining Services Expand College Offerings
One such creative initiative from Sodexo is featured in a recent eCampus News article written by DTG CEO and Founder Steve Shaheen. The article illustrates how mobilized dining services are now enabling colleges to offer an endless variety of food and beverage options anywhere on campus – at outdoor events, in residential halls, at sporting facilities, and throughout campus common areas. No longer constrained by proximity to a power source and the other physical limitations of the traditional dining hall, mobile dining services enable campus dining programs to offer endless varieties of food and beverage options at multiple locations.
What started as a creative way to address the challenges of safely providing food and beverages to students and staff during the pandemic, battery-powered mobilized dining carts, featuring DTG Chef PowerStations, are enabling schools such as Brandeis University, Merrimack College, Curry College, University of Texas, and Loyola Marymount University, among others, to provide healthy, fresh, and creative dining options to their students and staff. In fact, some of the schools are launching some very creative and well received concepts including theme nights, popcorn stations, make-your-own sundae bars, and even a mobile Super Bowl tailgate party.
Creative Solutions for Better Student Experiences
As an added benefit, the mobile, battery-powered carts are also being used by student-run organizations, clubs, sports teams, alumni networks, and other groups, enabling them to offer food and beverage services and leverage the increased foot traffic of a sporting event or other special campus events. In addition to creatively addressing the pandemic-related challenges of safely delivering food and beverages to students and staff, mobilized dining services are enabling college campuses to increase their flexibility to address other issues that have emerged over the past few years, such as labor shortages and supply chain disruptions.
As the article states, economics, competition and student satisfaction are the primary drivers behind these schools looking for ways to move beyond the traditional dining hall to find new ways to creatively, safely, and cost-effectively resume vital community connections and provide healthy, fresh, and creative dining services to their students and staff. After all, creative options are now the name of the game in campus dining.