In Fall 2009, PKC was hired by Montcalm Community College to determine how the College could turn around its foodservice department, which had been losing money for many years, despite a 23% increase in enrollment. MCC’s main dining venue, a small cafeteria, was busy at lunch but quiet during other dayparts and campus members were dissatisfied with the menu selection and value offered. The Porter Khouw team conducted on-site qualitative market research including focus groups with students, faculty and staff along with interviews with campus administrators. We also conducted a web-based survey that allowed us to test possible solutions. Using our national expertise coupled with the customized market research, our team presented MCC administrators with a creative solution that has eliminated the deficit and grown revenue. Per our recommendations, MCC has partnered with a local business partner to bring a Subway onto campus which offers the menu items the campus community wants at a price point they expect.
Jim Lantz, Montcalm Community College
“Our self-operated foodservice department had been losing significant money for several years,” says Jim Lantz, vice president of administrative services. “It seemed that, no matter what we tried, we could not even get to the point where our sales were sufficient to cover the cost of the food.”
“At the Community College Business Officers annual conference, I explained our situation to David Porter and Carolyn Watkins of Porter Khouw Consulting. While it was immediately clear that the firm had extensive experience in college and university foodservice, I wasn’t sure if they fully understood the unique challenges of a small, rural, non-residential community college. However, after working with them to revamp our foodservice operation, I am convinced that engaging Porter Khouw was one of the best decisions we have ever made,” Lantz adds.
“The Porter Khouw team delved deeply into our operations, our student and staff demographics and our available facilities. They conducted interviews and focus groups to gain an in-depth understanding of our college. They designed a comprehensive survey, to which we received a very strong response, that further explored our students eating habits and preferences. Based on the results of PKC’s efforts, we have completely re-engineered our food service, resulting in better service, higher sales, and happier customers.”