California State University-Los Angeles

Porter Khouw Consulting, Inc. (PKC) was retained by California State University, Los Angeles (CSU LA) University Auxiliary Services (UAS) in Fall 2014 to create a visionary campus-wide foodservices master plan for the University.

As part of our market research, PKC spent three days on campus in October 2014 conducting focus groups and interviews with students, faculty/staff and administrators. This qualitative market research was followed up with a customer dining survey that was distributed to a sample group of approximately 10,000 campus community members (per CSU LA). In addition, our team also studied the University’s current enrollment, its plans for modifications to the campus landscape, its plans to add more housing and other future planning initiatives. We also reviewed President Covino’s initiatives which are focused on student engagement and student success and identifying ways that Cal State LA can help its students experience success while they are on campus and how it can help prepare students for successful professional careers and futures.

Not unlike many colleges and universities, Cal State LA is at a crossroads with regard to the future of dining on its campus, particularly as the University continues to grow its enrollment, considers new buildings and other changes to the campus and as it considers adding possibly up to 1,000 new beds in the next 5-10 years. As part of this study, PKC provide CSU LA with meaningful short- and longer-term recommendations for all of their campus dining venues and future options as the campus continues to evolve. Our recommendations included creating a next generation dining program featuring Anytime Dining with unlimited service and extended hours of operation in the current dining commons and in any future dining commons the University builds. We also recommended new customer-friendly and flexible meal plans as well as enhancements to the retail dining venues that would allow UAS to better meet the needs of commuter students.

In addition to the qualitative and quantitative work we completed, our team also created comprehensive five-year financial projections and we provided recommendations regarding the optimum organizational structure for dining services (and suggestions for adding key management positions) and we detailed all of our work in a written final report which was delivered to the University at the conclusion of this project.

Some of the short-term changes including expanded menu mix and hours of operation at one of the retail venues in one of the campus’s very busy classroom buildings have already been implemented and UAS reports positive feedback from customers.