U Hawaii’s Food: From Good to Great

Forbes: “Last semester, University of Hawaii at Manoa students such as Frank Lloyd started to notice a difference in their campus food. It wasn’t just better — it was some of the best college food ever … Did Gordon Ramsay take up residence at this commuter campus in Honolulu? No, something far more interesting, and instructive, happened here. Within a 24-month period, the campus foodservice provider, Sodexo, hatched an ambitious plan to upgrade the campus restaurants. The results seemed to surprise even the managers behind the idea.”

“Sodexo overhauled its menus, adding more vegetarian and vegan options … Sodexo deployed Bite, its smartphone app, to allow students to track their calories and they integrated the Tapingo to enable mobile orders. A visit to one of the cafeterias during the busy lunch hour shows the results. There are no lines. That’s because there are more than 500 daily transactions using Tapingo … Sodexo also phased out a well-known fast-food restaurant that specializes in tacos and added Stir Fresh, a new stir-fry restaurant that served local fare.”

“Before the changes, students would simply go home after class. Now, there’s a sense of community around the coffee shops and restaurants, and people are more likely to hang out … This fall, customer satisfaction reached 94%.” Mark Nakamoto of Sodexo comments: “We learned a lot about student needs. And I think they, in turn, learned how businesses work.”