A series of four prominent industry figures opened the onsite-specific portion of the IDEAS Conference agenda with discussions of different challenges multi-concept environments.
Principal Kent Bain of consulting firm Wood Bain Associates discussed the proper process for how B&I clients should approach a foodservice RFP. Among his recommendations: “remember that facilities have long lives” and what you construct today needs to remain functional over the long term and changing conditions.
Yale University's director of retail & graduate dining, Tom Tucker, gave his presentation about how the institution nearly doubled its retail sales in 24 months. “Our research showed Yale is the brand,” he declared. By that, he meant that in the minds of the target customer base (i.e., the campus community), association with their elite school was a gold-plated plus when it came to retail branding. Hence a flurry of brands that evoked different places, traditions and familiar figures at the university.
Boston College Dining Director Helen Wechsler discussed her department's continuous training program that instilled the idea of “who we are” as a dining service. Some of the major components include integrating the Gold Standards of Service model made famous by the Four Seasons hotel chain, which makes service a part of the organizational culture. “To achieve this level of service, we knew we would have to ingrain training in everything we did,” she noted.
Amy Beckstrom (Best Concepts Best of Show winner University of Colorado-Boulder) talked about how her department used a Six Sigma tool to set performance standards and goals for her department staff (for more, see the June 2011 FM cover story).