In January 2015, Colgate University (CU) hired Porter Khouw Consulting to assist the University with completing a campus-wide dining service master plan and with rebidding its foodservice contract. The University was experiencing a high dissatisfaction from students and other campus community members regarding with its campus dining program, services and offerings and the University’s foodservice contract had not been rebid in more than 30 years. The timeline for this project was aggressive as the University wanted to have a new foodservice program and contract in place by July 2015. PKC accomplished our entire scope of work in six months and the University has a new contract with a foodservice provider effective July 2015.
We believe that is critical to spend as much time as possible on campus to identify issues with a college’s or university’s current dining program as well as customer preferences regarding meal plans, menu variety and selection and hours of operation. We took this same approach at Colgate. Our team spent three days on campus touring the venues and observing operations, as well as conducting focus groups and personal interviews with a wide variety of constituents including students, faculty/staff and administrators. This qualitative market research was used to create a customized web-based survey which was distributed campus wide.
Our team then analyzed all of the market research and developed preliminary recommendations regarding the optimum, next generation dining program for Colgate University. Our forward-thinking plan included 24/7 Anytime Dining (unlimited access) to Frank Dining Hall and The Coop (in the student center), expanded service and hours at Colgate’s retail venues on campus, student friendly and value-added meal plan options, recommendations regarding expanded menu variety and selection, a new customer-friendly and easy-to-use catering program and more. Our recommendations were embraced by the University and our team used these recommendations to competitively rebid the University’s foodservice business. As part of this process, PKC facilitated a bidding process where we required qualified bidders to submit proposals to operate the optimum dining program as outlined in the detailed RFP using recommendations provided by PKC and approved by CU. PKC also required bidders to provide a transition plan in order to ensure that summer camps would have guaranteed foodservice and that the new dining program would be in place for Fall.
PKC provided a thorough written evaluation of all of the bids using a customized and proven scoring method and our evaluation scored the proposals in order to allow PKC and CU to create a short list of companies to interview. PKC facilitated the finalist interview process and assisted the University with contract negotiations. As noted earlier, the new foodservice contract commenced July 2015. As a result of this process, CU has an enforceable contract with fair and equitable terms.
“Our experience working with PKC was terrific,” says Borfitz. “David, Shaun and Carolyn were excellent to work with and PKC is one of the most responsive consulting teams I have ever encountered. PKC identified the challenges with our program and developed creative solutions that our student leaders are excited about. Personally, I didn’t think we could ask/receive as much as we got in our contract and I think the new program PKC recommended will provide tremendous value to our students and our entire community. One of the particularly outstanding aspects of working with you is that the result of this process provided us with a very detailed contract we can use on a daily basis to make sure that our contractor is meeting all terms of the agreement and providing the high quality of service our students and campus community deserves.”