Students can be hard to please, but that doesn’t stop schools from trying. Universities cater to their students needs in many ways from providing tutoring services and career building seminars, to fulfilling the most basic and necessary task of feeding their students.
UNCW Campus Dining has a large customer base that has a high turnover. With each new generation of Seahawks and the constant evolution of food trends in society, Campus Dining must stay updated on their consumer needs. An effective IMC plan begins and ends with research. Each semester Campus Dining sends out surveys asking students and faculty what changes they would like to see. Questions include asking for locations where students and faculty feel dining options are lacking and also what variety of food options they would like to see offered.
Campus Dining stays relevant through a nearly constant evolution of dining locations. Anyone who has had a meal plan for more than a couple semesters has probably seen Dub’s remodeled multiple times. With redecorations, menu changes, dietary need additions, we don’t have time to get bored before it is new again. Currently Dubs has an emphasis on local and healthy options.
Campus Dining brand also embraces sustainability efforts. You may have heard about the fish tank in Wag. This aquaponics system (a small ecosystem that raises plants and fish in a mutually beneficial environment) is just one of the most recent updates. This semester the cafeteria provides more fresh fruit and veggies (due to survey requests) and wag sushi on Fridays. These are just some examples of Campus Dining improvements.
Aside from keeping up with the foods that students request, UNCW goes one step farther to keep their students happy by offering a variety of promotions. This semester, along with the updated meal plans, UNCW has a “VIP” option for students in Non-Traditional housing who purchase meal plans. By getting a meal plan between May 18th and August 24th, eligible students were enrolled in a rewards program that allows them free surprises every month. Some of these specials include free coffee at Port City Java, a free bagel, a free sandwich at The Landing, a free Chick-fil-a sandwich, and other exciting surprises. This IMC strategy is an incentive for students who are not required to purchase a meal plan to do so, and a way for UNCW Campus Dining to retain more customers.
All these initiatives show Campus Dining’s commitment to generating consumer enthusiasm and engagement to keep their brand relevant against off-campus dining competition. In addition to their guaranteed return on investment from students living on campus who are required to get meal plans, Campus Dining’s IMC plan draws in extra revenue by encouraging everyone to make them their choice for nutritional value.
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-Carey Poniewaz, Aki Suzuki, Alexis Trimnal, Carey Shetterley and June Wilkinson