Porter Consulting Foodservice Planning & Design

The Catholic University of America - Washington, D.C.

Catering services are a significant revenue generator for most college dining programs. However, this was not the case at The Catholic University of America (CUA) because most of the campus community (and off-campus catering customers) had lost faith in the services provided by the University’s foodservice provider and many, in fact, had simply stopped using the campus caterer. This resulted in thousands of dollars of lost business and very high customer dissatisfaction. In addition, the University was faced with growing dissatisfaction with other aspects of its campus dining program including from many meal plan participants.

To help resolve these issues, CUA hired Porter Consulting to critically assess all of the challenges associated with the on-campus dining program and to assist the University with rebidding its foodservice contract. In order to complete our assessment, the Porter team spent three days on the CUA campus interviewing students, faculty and administrators including meal plan holders, cash paying customers and those who use or used to use the campus’s catering services. Our team used this feedback to develop program enhancement recommendations that not only addressed the obvious issues but also provided in-depth improvements to the overall dining program including more flexible meal plans, customer-friendly hours of operation, new and convenient foodservice outlets on campus and more. The University adopted our recommendations and our team moved to the next step, developing a Request for Proposal that outlined the new and improved foodservice program.

The Catholic University of America hosts thousands of conferences, camps and dignitaries every year so high-quality and reliable catering is critical to the campus’s overall mission. Because of this, the RFP included very specific catering benchmarks and criteria the successful bidder would be expected to maintain, along with a quality campus dining program that would keep all campus customers satisfied. It also included other aspects unique to CUA such as the dining program for its on-campus ministry population and the amount of in-kind support the University expects from its on-campus vendor partners.

The Porter team managed the entire RFP project with client interaction every step of the way including the pre-bid conference, bid evaluations from three qualified companies, finalist interviews and contract negotiations. The bottom line: The agreement, with potential sales of up to an estimated $11 million per year, provided redesigned campus dining venues, three new foodservice locations, catering and special event services for the more than 7,700 students, faculty and staff of CUA.

Projects & References

Brigham Young University Idaho
College of Saint Benedict
Concordia College
Ferris State University
Johns Hopkins Health Systems
Montcalm Community College
St. Bonaventure University
San Jose State University
SUNY Cortland
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Richmond
University of New Hampshire
Wellesley College

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