31 October 2019 • Martijn Tamboer
A new catering concept for THUAS
From January 1, THUAS will have a new catering concept for The Foodcourt, The Bridge, The Lighthouse and the restaurant in Delft. Students and staff members are closely involved in all stages of the procurement process. The outcome of their assessment will determine who will serve up their sandwiches for the next five to ten years. “We want a real wow factor.”
“Take the Food Court; at least 3,000 people a day visit this location. It has to be a place that offers a responsible, varied and tasty selection. A place where we can combine eating and drinking with connecting, meeting and networking.” Together with his colleagues, Olaf Falet, unit manager of Facility Services & Housing has defined a holistic approach for the procurement process for a new caterer.
Lunch in the evening
“Our students,” explains facility adviser Maarten Schenkelaars, “live in a fast-paced world in which providing services 24/7 is considered standard. They want to be able to have lunch at night so to speak. Our market research has revealed that sustainability and corporate social responsibility are very important values for young people.”
‘We are the school’
In planning and executing the procurement process, the purchase team of Facility Services & Housing felt it was important to hear the voice of the user. Falet: “We involved students and colleagues to compile requirements and wishes. But also to evaluate the future catering concept, which included a presentation attended by a broad representation of the school. A total of 24 participants, half of them students, evaluated the future concept. The outcome of their evaluation will determine the final choice; we only facilitate the evaluation process.” Gina Ibeawuchi, a student of European Studies and a member of the General Council, was one of those students. “The voice of the student is very important. We are the school.”
Prior to her evaluation of the procurement process, Gina asked her fellow students a series of questions. “I talked to them about what they think is important in a good caterer at our school. We learned that the most important factor is affordability. After all, we are students with a limited budget.”
Gina also noted that veganism is a major trend. During the presentation there was a tasting. “I think that the students really liked the large selection of healthy food options.” The new caterer should also promote healthy and responsible nutrition, according to Falet. “That’s also in line with THUAS policy, partially based on the SDGs of ‘good health and wellness’ and ‘responsible consumption and production’. At the same time we don’t want to patronise. We will continue to sell a broodje kroket (meat croquette on a bun) but it will be produced more responsibly.”
“We believe that the available selection should be produced in a socially responsible manner,” Falet explains. “That means we want as many products as possible to be organic and fair trade, and we will use a lot of locally sourced ingredients.” Plastic disposables will no longer be allowed. If there is no suitable alternative available, we will use bio-based plastic. We will also prevent food waste. The caterer will use the app Too Good To Go to reduce waste. “To prevent food waste, we will also see less than perfect products on the shelves, like crooked cucumbers.”
Inclusiveness and cooperation
The future catering concept will more clearly embody the identity of THUAS. Inclusiveness is an aspect of that. Falet: “Each student, colleague and visitor should identify with the assortment. That includes halal, gluten free and vegan food, but also products for our international students who may have other preferences. What it means is that the caterer’s service and selection has to connect with the world in which it operates. We also ask for a connection with the university of applied sciences’ education and research activities. For example, including products in the selection that have been developed by students or building partnerships with research groups and/or degree programmes.”
Students and colleagues will not notice the new catering concept right away. It will be gradually implemented. Over the Christmas break we will implement the first conceptual adjustments. These will be visible at the start of the new year. A major renovation is scheduled for the 2020 summer break. Falet: “The spin-off from this procurement process is that the new concept, with its new look & feel, will be applied to all areas where the caterer is active. It has to appeal so that everyone can feel at home at THUAS. A networking university of applied sciences, a place to meet, connect and where people enjoy spending time.”
On November 5 we will announce the new caterer.