Following the feedback from students submitted through our ideas page and forums I put together a paper with all of the speicifc queries and organised a meeting with the Head of Catering Terry Hope and his colleagues. We went through the paper (Title: Proposal to improve the catering provision on campus - available upon request) and the following was discussed/actioned.
Recommendation 1 - For the university catering services to undertake a review of the services they provide to inform the following:
1. How they can offer food at a better value for money and what do other similar institutions charge for their services?
- Terry states that the service undertakes a survey every year and have found that they are in fact cheaper than many other institutions
- They also do a benchmarking exercise with other institutions – I asked to have sight of both the results from the survey and benchmarking exercise. I was told that the benchmarking exercise is confidential but they may be able to anonymise it so I can see it. Jamie received the survey results.
Recommendation 2 - Provide boiling water free of charge
- The answer was no. I urged strongly that this would be a really good thing for students (free hot water) but was told by Terry that it would have serious financial implications on the service and is therefore not possible.
Recommendation 3 - Introduce more variety of vegan foods on a regular basis
- They believe to offer a good range of vegan options in the cafeterias. They agreed that students should go directly to them if they have any ideas for different vegan dishes. They also agreed to put the menu cycle on the website at least a month in advance, so students can check what is going to be on offer in the coming weeks and plan accordingly.
- Terry expressed that students should contact him directly if they have ideas for different meals.
Recommendation 4 - Students have fed back that they like the ‘ILoveARUFridays’ scheme and it should continue, even outside of teaching weeks.
- We expressed that students like the ‘ILoveARU’ initiative and it should be extended outside of teaching weeks for those who are still around. We were told that it is facilitated by Student Services. The catering service loses around £18,000 per year because of the initiative, which has more than doubled since the previous year. We should talk directly with Student Services if students want it to be extended outside of teaching weeks.
Recommendation 5 - To make the feedback mechanism directly to the catering service more easily accessible, alternatives to online form submissions.
- They are going to re-invent the current feedback cards to add a ‘comments’ section on the back if students wish to give feedback there and then. I have suggested these should be sorted through weekly. It will still have the web address to allow students to go online and submit feedback. These new cards will be implemented in the new Semester (September 2017).
- Terry Hope suggested that students should contact him directly if they have any urgent feedback – email@example.com
Recommendation 6 -To collaborate with the SU to promote ‘Meatless Monday’s’ – this would require more readily available non-meat options, including hot and cold meals.
The catering service is happy to collaborate on ‘Meatless Mondays’
If you have any further questions or would like the SU Officer Team to take this further please email Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org