University of Connecticut

University of Connecticut
C. Dennis Pierce, Executive Director, Department of Dining Services

In Fall 2017, PKC was hired by the University of Connecticut (UConn) to provide a review of the existing campus dining program on UConn’s Storrs campus. The University was seeking recommendations for its dining program that would help position the University to meet its institutional needs for years to come. As part of our scope of work, PKC reviewed the present level of UConn Dining operational success, assessed the financial performance of the department, determined areas of opportunity to improve the services provided to the UConn community and recommended methods for those improvements. We also provided examples of best practices used by peer and aspirant institutions (both self-operated and contracted) which could be appropriate for implementation at the University of Connecticut.

The resultant recommendations and review were designed to serve as the foundation of the UConn Dining program in order to enable the program to best meet the needs of the campus. Our recommendations took into consideration all types and styles of services offered, quality of services, pricing, residential dining operations, retail dining operations, catering and long-term financial planning.

PKC started this process by spending three days on the campus speaking with key constituents and touring the facilities. Following this visit, PKC developed a survey that was broadcast to the campus community and received approximately 1,500 responses. Using all of the information gathered, PKC compared this against industry benchmarks and our extensive internal data base of metrics for comparison. The depth of information provided allowed PKC to create a detailed comparison against the similar accounts in PKC’s database and benchmark resources like NACUFS.
In our final written report to UConn, our team provided a detailed assessment of the University’s Dining Services department in terms of labor costs, food costs as well as the department’s overall financial contribution to the institution in order to provide UConn with a national perspective on where its dining operation stands financially. PKC also provided insights into sustainability, business systems, community efforts and in-kind contributions provided by dining and how they support the overall campus mission.
To complete this comparison and planning effort, PKC provided recommendations on how the dining program can move to the next level programmatically and financially. Catering enhancements were detailed along with new meal plans, usage of facilities and financial metric reporting methodologies.