How Food Service Operators Can Win More Campus Contracts

Attracting and signing new clients in any business can be a challenging and lengthy process, especially when a long-term contract is at stake. This is certainly true in the case of campus food service contracts. Food services play a key role in the day-to-day lives of college students, and thus require routine assessment of their performance by both campus staff and students alike. With performance under such consistent scrutiny and new contracts hard to win, how can a food service provider stand apart from the competition?

The following are some key strategies you can implement to maximize the chances of winning those high-value campus food service contracts.

Offer an engaging and personalized service.

• Know Your Students by Name

Why does calling someone by their name matter? Because our brains actually “light up” when we are called by name. This can create a powerful moment of interaction between your staff and your clients’ customers, eventually leading to increased customer loyalty and customer retention. Scientists have actually mapped brain activity to show that there is unique brain activation specific to hearing one’s own name in relation to the names of others.

• Instant Feedback Channels

Is your feedback system limited to the occasional survey? It’s important to establish an instant feedback channel that allows you to track customer satisfaction for each transaction. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, 86% of respondents were influenced by negative online review when making a buying decision. Therefore, instant feedback lets you cater to angry customers before they reach out to the megaphone that is social media.

Stand out by providing a unique end-to-end solution for each campus.

• Have a comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) system to offer your campus clients.

Gone are the days when POS systems were nothing more than a glorified cash register. Whether it’s inventory management, hands-free payment, or real-time sales tracking – offer your clients a complete solution tailored to their specific business needs.

• Own the client’s meal plan services

Be equipped with technology that can manage all aspects of meal operations, such as payment solutions, meal planning, customer profiles, budgeting, and reporting. Taking ownership of the client’s meal plan service in this manner will build more value in the eyes of your clients and prospects. How do you deliver this sophisticated solution to the students? Offer a branded mobile app that will allow students to view meal plans, pre-order, store digital meal cards, and check balances.

Have a Mobile Pre-order & Pay option on your branded app

• Lines? What Lines? Order ahead

Nobody likes waiting in a long line. Having long lines can also slow down operations, waste time, negatively impact customer experience, and as a consequence, directly impact sales. Mobile pre-order is a no-brainer solution to this problem. Eliminate the wait by giving students the flexibility to complete the transaction from their phones. It’s a win-win for everyone!

• Pay with a selfie

Transform everyday transactions into an easy and seamless experience. Students may not have cash or their wallets on them, but they will never leave their smartphones behind. Food service operators should embrace this, use it to their advantage, and ensure that no business is lost because of limited and outdated payment methods.

Use data & analytics to your advantage

• Know your customers

Who are the customers? What are they buying? What do you they think of your brand and your services? Ensure that your sales platform provides the data you need to answer all those questions. This will reassure your client that you are constantly striving to provide the students with the best possible service.

• Take smart, data-driven decisions

Analytics is a powerful tool. Interpreting data to take appropriate action can change the way you run your business. Gain meaningful insight into what’s working and what’s not, to boost sales and lower costs.

Bring your marketing chops

• Be creative

Use integrated marketing tools to bring your customers back for more.Declining drink sales? Offer half-price drinks via in-app promotions. Creating a special menu for halloween? Let the students through push notifications. The possibilities are endless!

• Analyze and manage performance in real-time

Tweak campaigns and promotions, track key marketing metrics, chat with customers, and communicate with staff – all in real-time. This will allow you to effectively implement and manage all levels of your marketing campaigns.

Using FIIT POE, our campus food service clients such as Fresh Ideas and Creative Dining continue to stay ahead in the race. Contact us today to learn how we can help you win more contracts.


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