Porter Consulting Foodservice Planning & Design

IDEXX Laboratories - Westbrook, ME

In Spring 2008, PKC was retained by IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. to assist the company in completing a long-term programming and growth strategy for its dining services operation. IDEXX is a worldwide leader in the development and commercialization of innovative technology-based products and services for veterinary, food and water applications. Presently, the company has three foodservice facilities in Maine and each location offers a traditional cafeteria that provides breakfast and lunch service and on-site catering to each building population. The company tentatively plans to add two new buildings to its main campus and each building may include foodservice outlets.

The goals of this project were: 1) to develop menus, operating programs and high-level optimum staffing models for each existing and future venue in order to ensure the dining needs of the entire corporate campus community as the campus landscape changes over the next two years and 2) to evaluate the benefits of continuing a self-operated dining service and/or the advantages/disadvantages of outsourcing some or all of the dining program to a foodservice management company. At the time, all but one of the company’s dining venues was self-operated.

In order to understand IDEXX’s corporate culture and its employees’ eating habits, preferences and satisfaction with the current dining program, our team spent two full days on IDEXX’s corporate campus. We conducted focus groups with administrators as well as salaried and hourly employees from various shifts. Our team also interviewed the current dining services team about challenges with the current facilities and their vision for the future of dining at IDEXX’s three facilities. Using our qualitative market research as a guide, we conducted a web-based survey that was distributed to all IDEXX employees in order to confirm/challenge issues that were raised during focus groups conducted on site. Among our recommendations: extend the hours of operation in the main dining venue in order to increase customer throughput (especially during peak serving times), renovate the main cafeteria to improve overall ambiance, add menu boards to more quickly illustrate product offerings and prices, expand payment options to include payroll deduction and credit/debit cards, expand the menu variety and selection to appeal to IDEXX’s diverse employee base and bring in a brand-name coffee to increase customer satisfaction.

Our team also created a five-year financial projection model to illustrate how our recommendations (particularly the expanded hours of operation) would impact IDEXX’s bottom line. We also provided recommendations regarding the company’s coffee service, which had been struggling and was a high point of dissatisfaction with many employees. Following this project, IDEXX hired our firm to assist them with bidding out the company foodservice business. Our team led a pre-bid conference on site, developed and issued a detailed RFP, evaluated the bids, conducted finalist interviews and assisted with contract negotiations.

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