Porter Consulting Foodservice Planning & Design

San Jose State University - San Jose, CA


Spartan Shops, Inc. at San Jose State University hired Porter Khouw Consulting to create a campus-wide dining services master plan for the University as well as to prepare a preliminary schematic for a new convenience store on the ground level of MacQuarrie Hall.

The major driving force of this project was the University’s plan to renovate and make extensive changes to the Student Union and the nearby cafeteria building. The University’s goal is to renovate this building to create a contemporary and inviting campus student hub where commuter and residential students, along with other members of the campus community and visitors, can gather to study, meet or grab a bite to eat. As part of this project, the University plans to tear down the cafeteria building and consolidate all foodservice offerings for the Student Union into the new renovated building.

Our team kicked off this project by spending three days on campus where we immersed ourselves in the campus culture. We toured the campus and all of the dining venues as well as conducted focus groups and interviews with students (resident and non-resident), faculty, staff and administrators in order to learn more about campus customers’ perceptions of the campus dining program. We used this information to create a web-based survey to further confirm and/or challenge these perceptions and to evaluate how campus customers might react to possible changes to the dining program including different meal plan options and services. More than 1,000 customers responded to the survey.

After analyzing the results of the survey and our qualitative market research, we presented our findings and preliminary recommendations to Spartan Shops administrators. Our recommendations included proposed branded concepts for the soon-to-be renovated Student Union, meal plan options that would provide the students with more flexibility and suggestions regarding product mix and hours of operation at all of the campus dining venues. All of our recommendations were summarized and presented in narrative form to the University in a final report, which also included the preliminary schematic for the new convenience store in MacQuarrie Hall.

Concurrent to this project, Spartan Shops hired our design studio to make recommendations regarding possible facelift options for the campus’s primary residential dining venue, the Dining Commons. We recommended several changes that would enhance customers’ dining experience including a full-service coffee station with a wide variety of made-to-order coffee and tea beverages and a made-to-order pizza area with a wood burning oven as well as some changes to the kitchen equipment that would allow the dining staff to be more efficient and to expand the menu variety and selection available in this venue. Our design studio designed the new Southside pizza station which offers a wide variety of wood oven-baked pizza and pastas.

Most recently, our team was hired to work with Spartan Shops and Perkins+Will on the renovation of the Student Union.

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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