In Summer 2007, Wellesley College hired Porter to create a campus-wide dining services master plan. This prestigious college, with a residential population of 2,318, has a unique dining program with six residential dining venues plus two retail outlets, the Bae Pao Lu Chow Dining Room and the Campus Center Café - Convenience Store, both in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center. The goals of the project were to identify ways to improve the school’s dining service options, to boost participation (particularly among non-students including faculty and staff) and to further control costs. In addition, the College wanted to go to the marketplace to see what options and services were available from foodservice management companies, including its existing operator.
After completing focus groups and personal interviews on campus, our team presented Wellesley administrators with a variety of recommendations including consolidating dining venues, expanding hours of operation and offering more student-friendly meal plan options. In addition, we also recommended that Wellesley modify the style of service at the Bae Pao Lu Chow Dining Room in the Wang Campus Center from a la carte to anytime dining with unlimited access and extended hours of operation. This is a major gathering place on campus and since nearly all of the students are meal plan holders, we believed that this style of service would be more attractive to them. We also believed that the change to unlimited access would help resolve major customer flow issues (primarily at the exits) and with an attractive door rate that this venue would become a more appealing option to faculty and staff.
Bob Bossange, assistant vice president for administration, says that this change along with the other enhancements to the entire dining service program including a new executive chef, a stronger emphasis on local foods and a much wider menu variety, has been extremely well received by the campus community.
“We are thrilled with the recommendations Porter made and the impact they have had on our campus dining program, especially at the Bae Pao Lu Chow Dining Room,” says Bossange. “The students love the unlimited access and the entire campus community appreciates the emphasis on freshly-prepared and homemade foods at this venue and throughout campus. We are especially pleased by how many faculty/staff are now using this dining venue for lunch. It really has evolved into a true community gathering place for students, faculty/staff and campus visitors.” In addition to increased participation, the College is also receiving a higher commission and has strengthened its bottom line as a result of our team’s detailed assistance throughout the RFP rebidding process.