Bishops University, located in Quebec, Canada near the border of Maine and Vermont, hired our firm to provide a detailed dining program plan that the University could use to form the basis for evaluating their current contractor and serve as the basis for a new RFP. Our team worked closely with Bishops’ project team to conduct an in-depth market assessment of its campus dining program, evaluate and confirm current programs and services, review the current meal plan structure, catering, hours of operation, food quality, customer service, design of facilities and contractor revenue models.
In order to immerse ourselves in BU’s campus culture and dining program, our team spent three days on campus eating in the facilities and conducting focus groups with customers and interviews with campus administrators. We interviewed students and other customers about their current eating and spending habits, menu preferences and what they perceived as the current strengths and weaknesses of the current dining program. We asked BU administrators the same question with regard to how the current dining program was or wasn’t supporting the University’s goal of student engagement on campus. Our team followed up this on-site research with a web-based survey. Combining our national experience with the market research specific to BU, we returned to campus to present the BU project team with recommendations for the optimum dining program designed specifically for Bishop’s University. Our recommendations included flexible meal plans, extended hours of operation, more extensive menu variety and selection and other program enhancements.
Following our team’s evaluation of the current operations and Bishops’ approval of our recommendations we proceeded to work with them on the development of a RFP and Draft Management Agreement. The RFP was issued to pre-qualified bidders, then our team used a time-tested scoring method to compare the bids on an apples to apples basis, developed a bid report to ease the University’s assessment of the submitted information. We went on to moderate a pre-bid conference and conduct finalist interviews. At the conclusion of the bid process after a final recommendation of the most suited contractor had been submitted, our firm assisted the University in contract negotiations with the chosen firm and in ironing out details of the transition from the incumbent to the new contractor.
Bishop’s invited out team back to campus in Spring 2011 to conduct more focus groups with customers and to meet with the current contractor to discuss some dissatisfaction issues with the campus dining program including shorten hours of operation, less than robust menus and other factors that have since been addressed with our team’s assistance.