Ferris State University

PKC was retained by Ferris State University in Fall 2006 to provide recommendations for the significant enhancement of dining services on campus and an overall evaluation and assessment of the campus dining service venues and operations. As part of the process, our team studied the University’s strategic master plan and considered how the planned changes to the campus and FSU’s initiatives would impact Dining Services. Another important goal of the University was to become an “engaged campus.”

As part of our scope of work, PKC completed comprehensive qualitative and quantitative market research, analyzed FSU’s catering program, completed financial modeling illustrating the financial impact of our recommendations and completed preliminary design services to illustrate the optimum sizing of the campus dining venues based on our programmatic recommendations. Our recommendations included a new, more flexible meal plan program that eliminated unused meals, the closure and/or relocation of some existing venues without having a negative impact on the bottom line and servery redesigns that would increase customer throughput and improve overall ambiance. Our recommendations provided FSU with a more contemporary and customer preference-based dining program that also supports the University’s mission and strategic plan.

Following our firm’s completion of a campus-wide dining services master plan, Ferris State University Dining Services made significant changes to enhance students’ campus dining experience. Most dramatic among these changes was the move to more customer friendly, value-added meal plans and a change in the style of service in its residential dining facilities from all-you-care-to-eat with limited meal periods to anytime dining with extended operating hours. In addition, our firm recommended that The Rock Cafe, FSU’s primarily freshmen dining facility, be renovated to improve ambiance, customer throughput and to widen menu variety and selection. Campus administrators wanted this venue to become the social gathering place on South campus, the heart of the freshmen residential community.

Prior to the renovation, The Rock Cafe was dated and uninviting. The servery was tight and menu variety and selection was somewhat limited and featured limited exhibition cooking. The dining room was not designed for the critical see-and-be-seen environment freshmen college students expect and the dining area lacked warmth. The primary focus of the renovation was to improve flow and throughput in the serving area and to create a comfortable and welcoming dining venue that would meet today’s students’ expectations and makes a positive impression on incoming students.

PKC served as the lead foodservice consultant on this project. The improved Rock Cafe is modern, contemporary and inviting. The servery features exhibition cooking and a wide variety of offerings. The dining room features all new furniture as well as a fireplace with soft seating. As a result of the changes to the dining program including the new meal plans, expanded hours of operation and the renovation to the Rock Cafe, FSU Dining Services has realized a 29.4% increase in voluntary meal plan sales (YTD) and a 172% increase in cash/credit card sales.

PKC also recently completed the programming and design of the state-of-the-art Quad Café in FSU’s new $34 million university center. This first-of-its-kind venue offers a unique mix of Anytime Dining and A La Carte styles of service.