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Food Service Industry Updates

How Chartwells is Planning for the Future of Campus Dining



Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, which specializes in contract foodservice management, recently conducted a survey to explore how colleges and universities are planning for housing, dining, catering and more in 2021. The respondents included Chartwells’ campus leadership partners from across the United States.

The result of the survey is a plan called “Path Forward,” which Chartwells said will help the more than 300 colleges and universities it serves plan for campus dining in 2021 and beyond.

According to Chartwells, “Path Forward” focuses on customizable strategies and solutions, including innovative meal plans, ghost kitchens, boxed catering and safety technologies to support COVID-19 challenges, safe dining and student successes.

Some of the initial findings from the survey include:

• Nearly 70% of respondents are looking for ways to continue to offer take-away in-resident dining as well as reopen resident dining halls.

• Over 50% are interested in mobile ordering and pickup that eliminates checkouts and want options for on-campus delivery.

“Path Forward” was developed by a team of Chartwells’ operators, culinary experts, dietitians, chefs and marketers. It covers multiple facets of operating an innovative campus dining program, including:

• Meal plan solutions: Nontraditional meal plans customized to changing student needs.

• Ghost kitchens: Pared-down commercial cooking spaces with no dine-in options that help streamline inventory and menu management.

• New catering options: Choices that incorporate popular food trends and can be used with small gatherings to support CDC guidelines that limit group sizes.

• Safety technologies: New digital solutions that help protect students and maintain safety protocols, while increasing communication, convenience and accessibility.

“We are pleased to see that our campus partners and their communities have started to adapt to today’s many COVID-related challenges,” said Lisa McEuen, CEO of Chartwells Higher Education. “As we looked to next year, we challenged ourselves to create a catalog of innovation for our dining locations focused on student engagement and success. Our goal with “Path Forward” is to help solve the continued challenges brought on by COVID-19, create a safe but strong student experience and enable campus-specific plans that focus on culinary innovation.”