Chartwells Universities has signed a 10-year deal worth £58 million to overhaul Swansea University’s catering facilities with what the company describes as a “bold new operating model” focused on ” Ultimate Convenience” which will provide a number of job opportunities and services. for the local community.
The company describes the contract, awarded after an extensive process of competitive dialogue, as representing a “fundamental change in university catering”, motivated by the desire of Chartwells Universities to “innovate its offer to meet the desires and the ever-changing needs of students”.
The new operating model, which builds on an extensive research project to understand how Gen Z consumer behaviors have changed during the pandemic, is the culmination of a significant period of development.
The deal with Swansea University, which begins in January 2022, provides a mix of Chartwells universities’ own brands, such as Hollo Pollo, Bamboo and Liberty Grill, as well as a number of high street favourites, including Subway, Greggs and Tortilla, which will operate under franchise agreements. All brands will be available for delivery to the local community through partnerships with third-party delivery apps.
The contract is backed by Compass Cymru, which provides a dedicated framework to share support and best practice between contracts in Wales, as well as advocating for Welsh growers.
Jane Byrd, Managing Director of Compass Cymru, said: “This contract is a great addition to our Welsh portfolio and reflects the innovation taking place across the country. Not only does the new food and drink offering create a point of difference for Swansea University, but more importantly it provides opportunities and services to the local community.
Kerry Ford, Managing Director, Chartwells Universities, said: “This agreement is the culmination of a significant period of development which we believe will fundamentally change the way students perceive and interact with the catering offer at universities. Every element of the offering is deeply rooted in insight and has been specifically molded around the wants and needs of students.
“We are passionate about providing a fantastic experience to support students’ time in college, but also investing in the communities we operate. This model allows us to provide employment and career opportunities, while enriching the delivery options available to the surrounding community around campus.
Ben Lucas, Associate Director of Business Services at Swansea University, said: “The Chartwells Universities bid really stood out for its truly innovative format. Swansea University not only offers exceptional learning opportunities, but it also delivers outside the classroom, attracting prospective students from across the country, providing opportunities for local people and businesses.
“Convenience, quality and value are clearly extremely important to our students, but what really stands out about the approach is the added value, educational and CSR initiatives, such as digital cooking classes, regional supply and home cooking delivery. boxes, which will enrich the overall student experience and provide guidance and support during their stay in Swansea.
The extensive development plan will see the university’s canteen space on the Singleton campus converted into a new social center by the end of 2022, which will be renamed Swansea Social Hideaway.
A second social center will be created on Bay Campus in place of the current Core restaurant. They will be multifunctional and technological social spaces, providing space for students and staff to meet, work, socialize, eat, drink and live in a number of settings.
The format, which replicates progressive workspaces in UK cities, gives students the flexibility to adapt areas, whether for studying, socializing or resting. Zones have the dexterity to pilot a range of features, including hosting pop-up events, streaming live sports matches via large screens, and introducing a low- and no-alcohol bar.
Research from Chartwells Universities also revealed that Gen Z spends an average of four hours and 15 minutes on the phone each day. Additionally, as the takeout market has seen a 46% increase throughout the pandemic, the Ultimate Convenience Model leverages these macro trends with an omnichannel consumer experience, allowing students to benefit from multiple features through its app. Uni Food Hub leader.
The app allows students and staff to place food and beverage orders for pickup or delivery to campus locations, as well as offering loyalty points and a parent wallet top-up option. Beyond the basic provision of catering, students will also be able to access educational nutrition content, book cooking classes, give back to their local community through volunteer opportunities, and book tickets for on-campus events.
Other brand partnerships mean students can also order boxes of home-cooked food to be delivered to their hall or accommodation, through partnerships with Pizza Pilgrims and Hello Fresh.
(Main image: ‘The Rectory’ canteen at Swansea University)