| A One-Word Answer for Campus Health Product Retailing |
WINNER: VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, NASHVILLE
The Big Idea: While a number of universities have opened health-oriented retail outlets on campus, nectar is a cut above by presenting a comprehensive branded approach that could easily pass for a commercial retail store in an upscale mall. The store's minimalist lower-cased single-word signage communicates the back-to-thebasics simplicity behind the natural products movement. Meanwhile, the product selection is a well-crafted mix of natural, organic, artisan, gourmet and "clean" (no hydrogenated fats, artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings or preservatives) food, beverage and personal care items. Sampling, promotional giveaways from specialty suppliers and special events like yoga demonstrations help drive traffic and boost sales. Students can use their meal plans in the store, which has seen a 108-percent increase in sales over the conventional c-store that formerly occupied the space. That has been helped by a per-transaction average of $7.40, $2 over the previous store, thanks to the premium product mix.
Project Team: Vanderbilt Dining—Camp Howard (Associate Director/Executive Chef), Spiros Vergatos (Assistant Director), Susanne Herron (Manager); Gresham Smith & Partners (consultant)
WINNER: ARAMARK CORP.
Entry: Cash Wrap Impulse Program
The Big Idea: Impulse sales are the found money of retail, but they don't happen by accident. A good impulse program knows exactly where to position specific items to encourage the largest possible return. The payoff is an uptick in check averages that does not cannibalize other sales. With its Cash Wrap concept, Aramark has sought to formalize impulse sales generation by codifiying best practices and tailoring them to the college retail food court environment. The program uses a cost-effective, flexible design that can easily adapt to a wide variety of cash register setups in different sized spaces. It includes an implementation guide that details everything from fixture assembly instructions to product plan-o-grams and ordering guidelines. At the 42 sites in which the program was initially installed, more than 16 percent of customers bought impulse items at an average of $1.56 each, bumping overall check averages by 18 cents. Since then almost a hundred additional Cash Wrap conversions have either taken place or are in the pipeline.
Project Team: Aramark High Education—Mark Walker, Peter Czimback, Richard DiLiberto, Steve Gordon; Aramark Innovative Dining Solutions—Ron Bennett, Lisa Lemire
Healthy School Meals As Convenience Food
WINNER: VISTA (CA) USD
Entry: healthy vending and speed-line kiosk program
The Big Idea: Vista USD has pioneered an innovative partnership between its schools and the district Child Nutrition Services department through which CNS manages onsite vending operations at the district's two high schools, effectively ending "competitive" food sales while increasing the consumption of healthy alternatives. The program has led to the convenient availability of healthy snack, beverage and meal options—chosen by students through focus group and survey research—throughout the day, while also increasing the commission revenues the schools derive from vending and giving CNS another revenue source.
More recently, Vista has worked with vending unit maker Icon Enclosures to adapt its ServeSmart wireless sales tracking system to the high school cafeteria in the form of speedline kiosks that encourage students to purchase reimbursable school meals quickly. This past spring, ServeSmart was also piloted in the vending machines to dispense reimbursable meals quickly and conveniently The end result of Vista's initiatives has been a significant increase in the purchase and consumption of healthy (and now also reimbursable) food and beverage choices on school grounds during the day by capturing incremental new sales from students who previously had been discouraged by long lines and lack of convenient options. The extended hours even benefit adults taking evening classes onsite by offering healthy meal, snack and beverage options.
Project Team: Enid Hohn (Director-Child Nutrition Services); Dave Cowles, Darrel Taylor, Joyce Bales (Superintendents); Icon Enclosures, Inc.