University of Houston

In Fall 2016, PKC was hired by the University of Houston (UH) to complete a comprehensive campus-wide dining services master plan for the University’s main campus (approximately 43,000 students including 6,000 residential students). The campus dining program is expansive with two large residential dining venues, more than 15 nationally-branded and self-branded retail dining venues scattered across the expansive campus (and in the very busy University Center and Satellite Center) and in academic buildings. The University was struggling with meal plan participation, customer satisfaction, long lines at peak serving times and other challenges that are often inherent with large college dining programs.

For this project, PKC completed qualitative and quantitative market research which we used combined with our national experience to develop innovative strategies that would help UH address the aforementioned challenges but that would also allow the University to transform its campus dining program in ways that would expand service (including 24/7) and menu variety and that would also increase capacity in its retail dining outlets. PKC completed financial modeling to illustrate the implications of our recommendations and we created demand modeling scenarios to illustrate sizing requirements for the venues we recommended modifying.

In addition, per UH’s request, we also reviewed the University’s complex contract with its foodservice contractor and we offered the University our professional insights on the strengths and weaknesses of this document and we provided key performance metrics the University could use to measure the performance of its provider going forward.

Based on our work, UH hired our team again to assist it with rebidding the University’s foodservice contract in order to ensure that the programming recommendations we provided and the University embraced could be implemented beginning in Fall 2017 and to ensure that UH has an enforceable and fair contract with one of its largest business partners. PKC developed a comprehensive RFP that included all of the UH campuses (main and satellite locations), completed an in-depth evaluation of the bids, assisted with finalist interviews and contract negotiations.