Porter Consulting Foodservice Planning & Design

Foodservice Planning & Design Testimonials

One of the greatest strengths of our company is the emphasis we put on customer service. We listen, we observe, and we ask questions throughout the process. This ensures quality control and a plan that will work to serve our clients in the long term. Following are some recent comments from our clients in regard to our commitment to deliver only the best.

Lori Helmer, Director of Dining Services, Ferris State University

“In 2006, Ferris State University engaged the services of Porter Khouw Consulting to complete a market study and a comprehensive five-year master plan for Dining Services. Recommendations that came from the market research assisted us in ‘hitting a home run’ with our campus community by converting our existing dining program to a model program for colleges and universities, health care operations, K-12 operations, and commercial operations alike. One of the primary recommendations of the master plan was to renovate The Rock Café, located in the heart of FSU’s residential community. 

“We hired PKC again to assist us in ‘hitting a grand slam’ with the creation of a state-of-the-art dining venue. The Rock Cafe has quickly become a very popular dining destination for residence hall students, commuters, students living off campus, faculty/staff members, and local community residents. It has also become a primary recruiting tool for prospective students. According to our Vice President for Student Affairs, Dan Burcham, the dining experience at The Rock becomes the ‘seal the deal’ moment for most prospective students and parents. PKC partners David Porter and Albin Khouw, supported by their team of experts, have exceeded our expectations by helping FSU become very engaged in our campus.  Their professionalism, expertise, and partnership have been invaluable in the creation of an outstanding dining program at Ferris State University.”

Robert Rizzuto, Director of Dining Services, New York Institute of Technology

"To your entire team, we thank you for always being there to answer our questions and your patience is appreciated. Pilar and I knew when we selected you that we made the right choice, but as we move forward and deeper into this project, you confirm this feeling and go beyond our expectations. We thank you for your fine work and your knowledge of this business is profound."

Bill McNamara, Director of Dining Services, SUNY Cortland

“Porter Khouw Consulting has been a reliable and creative partner for SUNY Cortland for the layout and design of several renovation projects on our campus ranging from small face lifts to a major remodel of our large residential dining facility. Each time, they demonstrated willingness to listen to our needs, work with campus departments and contractors, advocate on our behalf, and meet and exceed difficult timelines,” says Bill McNamara, director of dining services. “Their experience and expertise was especially evident during a “two phase” renovation of our residential dining facility.

“Our Porter Khouw-designed dining facilities are state of the art and have achieved the “wow” factor with both present and potential students as revenues, customer counts and satisfaction surveys in these facilities have dramatically increased. Overall, working with Porter Khouw has been a wonderful experience that has exceeded my expectations.”

Diane (Dee) Hardy, Assistant Vice President of Campus Services, University of Richmond

The University of Richmond selected Porter Khouw Consulting when a complete renovation of its 44,000 square foot Heilman Dining Center was scheduled for 2005. The challenge was a very tight timeline and the need to provide on-going service during this major renovation of our only centralized facility. Skilled collaboration, responsive service and flexibility were required to meet our goals and Porter Khouw delivered professionally and on-time,” says Diane Hardy, assistant vice president of campus services. “Their team listened to our needs, impressed our architectural design firm, construction company and foodservice equipment provider and delivered a creative and timeless design that has more than met our expectations. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone undertaking a major project. In fact, we have utilized their services for two additional projects since the completion of the Heilman Center with equally great results.”


Debra Ross, Director of Dining Services, Concordia College

"Concordia College contracted with Porter Khouw Consulting for the layout and design of our new campus center. Because this facility has multiple uses, this was an extensive project involving many departments across campus. The expertise and knowledge demonstrated by Porter Khouw Consulting was invaluable to us.  They listened to our needs and coupled those thoughts with their experience resulting in a dining center that has exceeded our expectations from a financial and customer service perspective,” says Debra Ross, director of dining services. “There was a time that our Enrollment department didn't even take prospective students and parents into the dining area. Now we are the gem of the College and are actually used as a recruitment tool.  What a difference!"

Bryan Groom, Director of Business Services, Brigham Young University Idaho

“Brigham Young University – Idaho has partnered with Porter Khouw Consulting, Inc. on a number of projects over the years. The most recent project was a multi-million dollar remodel of our student union food court. They worked with us from the very beginning and were involved in virtually every phase of the project. The new food court is absolutely beautiful and the students love it,” says Bryan Groom, director of business services. “With any project, there are things we would do different. That being said, we are very satisfied with their work and would highly recommend their services.”

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.”

Gerald Tobin, Vice President of Student Life, Mercyhurst College

"I want to say thank you to each of you for your investment in Mercyhurst over these past several months. Our work with each of you was all that we hoped for. Your guidance from the beginning provided a great deal of security for us as we moved forward in this important and transformative process. You are clearly expert in your field and we were glad to lean on your expertise. The early collection of opinions from the Mercyhurst community, especially students, early in the game lent greater credibility to the final product. We couldn't be more pleased with the assistance and professionalism you offered. Again, thank you for great work!"

Timothy Dietzler, Director of Operations, Villanova University

“David Porter has done extensive work here on campus for us. He did a master plan of the campus when he was at Birchfield in '92, he designed The Court and Market at Donahue Hall when he was with Cini Little in 1995/96, he developed an extensive programming study for Dougherty Hall when he formed Porter Consulting in '96 and he designed our award winning operation in the business school - THE EXCHANGE.”

“David is excellent in master planning and programming. He also has put together perhaps one on the strongest design teams in the industry. I am confident you will have an excellent experience and outcome. David listens to your feedback and provides very good insight based on focus group data.”

David May, Assistant Vice President, Business Affairs, University of New Hampshire

“I know working with Porter Khouw Consulting has been a positive force in helping us shape our business model. We look forward to working with you in the future.”

David Friend, Director of Dining Services, West Virginia University

"I had the pleasure of touring Ohio University recently and the new student center including the foodservice areas that your firm designed. I thought that your design work was extremely innovative and functional."

Mark Braithwaite, Former General Manager of Residence, Food Service & Conference Services, University of Prince Edward Island:

"The new continuous dining meal plan has put UPEI on the map. Our President is using the plan as a recruiting tool because of how unique it is. We are the only University in Canada  that is offering a meal plan program with so much flexibility. In the first year of the new plan we have paid all of your consulting fees and more. The relationship in the past year changed with our contractor and is no longer adverse to the plan. Just like you said, the new meal plans raised satisfaction but did not result in higher food costs. Students are not eating us out of house and home, they are just eating smaller amounts more often. Students now think what's the point of take out and sales off campus have declined because students are rushing at 10 p.m. to the dining hall at night to get snacks and pizza. Some people have asked "What's the catch? This is too good to be true!" Quickly, they realize there is no catch.

“For the first time in several years, we have more people staying on campus or signing up to stay next year. They are choosing housing with the mandatory meal plan instead of moving to apartments with a voluntary meal plan. I think the move to stay on campus is a combination of a new residence hall and the meal plan. Comments from students this year were outstanding. The athletes think the plan is fantastic, but the hockey coach said his players are getting a little chubby. In terms of profit, we budgeted for commissions of about $80,000 from the old margin and we're now over $200,000. The meal plan is used as a flagship for the University as much as having a new residence hall."

Tom Ryder, Assistant Vice President/Controller for SUNY College at Oneonta (Retired):

“David is an extremely focused and goal-oriented consultant. He worked very well with every member of our campus group from students up to the Vice President level. We found him flexible in meeting the desires and needs of the campus, but also provided hard facts and experiences from his other projects, which sometimes brought us back to reality when we strayed. David knows the food service world and its operatives very well. There are many times we would have fallen on our faces were it not for him. He designed a survey that worked so well. His support staff and he are capable of producing documents that are factual, informative and exciting to look at. The RFP is an amazing document he put together based on the survey, his experience and our expressed needs.

“David is probably the most high energy person I have ever met. He is very personable and worked well with everyone. The vendors found him very direct and very tough at times...tougher than we who did not have his experience would have been. This resulted in many gains for us, as well as avoiding potholes the vendors may have been hoping we would fall into. I had a very direct relationship with David. I have said many good things about this person, but there is another I must add. David is above reproach when it comes to being objective in a process such as this. He has gone great lengths to distance himself from all vendors, except when working on behalf an institution such as ours in an RFP process. In fact, he prides himself in maintaining his independence in this regard. If you want a person who will work tirelessly on your behalf, maintain objectivity, be tough but fair with potential vendors, and provide the expertise to get the job done, I highly recommend David Porter.”

Michelle Price, Foodservice Director at Jefferson Community College:

“David’s extensive, hands-on foodservice operations background, coupled with his consulting experience, made him the best choice to manage our programming and design project. Our newly renovated cafeteria is operationally functional and facilitates a high level of flexibility and customer service. Sales have increased 40 percent.”

Kathy Welch, Former Director of Purchasing & Logistics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Retired):

“We selected David after careful analysis of the responses of five very credible, qualified food service consulting firms. The firm’s performance has proved that it was an excellent decision.”


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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