Higher Ed Outsourcing: Elevate Dining & Student Satisfaction

Published on : 4/10/24
  • Campus operations are more complex than ever—because the students they serve are more complex. As competition to attract and retain students remains fierce, colleges must provide more than enriching academic programs and traditional campus experiences. Today’s students are struggling with an ongoing desire for real social connection and a sense of community. Ensuring the success of students—from acceptance to graduation—requires careful consideration of all elements of the student experience.

    For campus leaders, it can be overwhelming to try to navigate these new and frequently shifting dimensions of the student experience. Outsourcing in higher education can be a useful tool in this area. Just as colleges invest considerable resources to develop faculty and staff, conduct research and support academic excellence, Sodexo invests in understanding students’ needs and expectations, which constantly shift as trends change and new students arrive on campus each fall. 

    Sodexo is committed to remaining at the forefront of student trends, after years of industry experience that have helped us hone our ability to anticipate and quickly adapt to evolutions in students’ expectations. For example, our research has revealed that the vast majority of students are looking to fill the need to belong on campus, with 82% of students reporting that they seek a friendly atmosphere where they feel they fit. This is students’ second-highest priority when choosing a college. And with 80% of students saying they equate eating together with socializing, the importance of offering a robust, welcoming, convenient dining program has never been clearer. 

    Working with a trusted partner to use dining as a tool to enhance the student experience can be the perfect solution, but the benefits may not be immediately clear. Here are a few of the most important benefits for leaders to consider when deciding if outsourcing in higher education might be right for their campus.

    Delicious, High-Quality Food that Builds Community

    Food is one of the best ways to bring people together. While that’s not a newsflash, using data and heatmapping to understand traffic patterns or lessen lines in peak times can impact the time students have for socializing over a meal—something that could make homesick students feel a little more at ease or create opportunities to make new friends in the dining hall. Sodexo leverages these insights and the expertise of our registered dietitians and culinary professionals to create menus that feature a wide variety of flavorful, nutritious, high-quality dishes that students love. From pop-up dining events to frictionless retail experiences, curated dining experiences engage students and help them find that all-important sense of belonging. 

    Outsourcing Partnerships that Help Employees Thrive

    Dining employees are an integral part of the campus community who have a unique understanding of campus culture and strong relationships with the students and faculty they interact with each day. On average, Sodexo retains 99.5% of current employees when we begin a new dining partnership, with no lapse in pay or benefits. Plus, transitioning to Sodexo creates new career opportunities for employees looking to advance within a global organization and provides access to a wealth of training and development resources to help them pursue their professional goals. 

    Lower Costs—But Not Quality

    Campus leaders may worry that outsourcing is more expensive than operating a dining program in-house; however, the opposite is often true. Sodexo leverages economies of scale and our extensive vendor network to provide competitive pricing on high-quality items. Plus, outsourcing in higher education offers access to world-class industry professionals and cutting-edge tools, all at a fraction of the cost to obtain these resources independently. 

    A campus is greater than the sum of its parts. All of it together creates the student experiences that will help recruit and retain students of this generation and the next. You know your campus inside and out; you have a roadmap for the future, but you don’t have to be on the journey alone—we can help.