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Elon University (N.C.) Dining provider: Aramark

University Business, Oct 2009

Elon University (N.C.)

Brown & Co. is another campus dining option for Elon students.

Total full-time enrollment: 5,628

Institution type: Four-year private

Total number of campus dining facilities (includes any facility serving food; please explain): 12

Number of full-service dining facilities (serving three meals a day): 1

Square footage of each main dining facility: 24,000

Location(s) of full-service dining facility on campus: Colonnades Dining Hall, 100 Dalton McMichael Drive, Elon, NC 27244

Name of any dining services provider/s: ARAMARK

Colonnades Dining Hall, a two-story $6.7 million dining facility, was built in 2007. Colonnades’ progressive and LEED design, “is a complete departure from a typical dining hall or food court and sets a new standard in campus dining,” according to judges for a 2008 Architectural Portfolio competition in American School & University Magazine.

Elon University was named in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Colleges” guide top “School to Watch” in a listing of colleges and universities that have made “striking improvements or innovations ? schools everyone should be watching.” Our Dining Services program is aligned with the University in ensuring that our locations, offerings and service are innovative and unsurpassed. We are committed to meeting the needs of our population including implementing a four week menu rotation comprised of Southern favorites, American, Latin, European and Asian as well as healthy and vegetarian options, and gluten free products. We also observe the diets of religious holidays. (Lent, Passover, etc.) The overall atmosphere of Colonnades promotes the University’s interest in creating a comfortable, upscale community environment, meeting the needs of our customers and clients.

Colonnades is divided into three distinct dining styles. Upstairs is an all-you-care-to-eat facility comprised of three stations: Isabella’s, a Mongolian grille, where the day’s offering is prepared fresh and you’ll find a made to order stir fry station. Tuscany, our brick oven pizza station and made to order pasta station, features fresh pastas, sauces and ingredients that change daily. Finally, Bread Basket features two soups made daily, fresh baked breads, a salad bar, and just baked desserts that would rival any gourmet bakery. 1889 Grill Room, named for the year the college was founded, is a full service restaurant enticing guests with premium entrees such as steaks and crab cakes and sumptuous desserts. The first floor of Colonnades is home to Fountain Market, referencing the spectacular fountain at its doors, and houses Boar’s Head Deli, Croutons (a tossed-to-order, full-service salad station that features a rotating menu of specialty ingredients and dressings) and showcases a state of the art neighborhood grocery which also offers grab n’ go items, sushi and delicious snacks. The separate venues create an ideal traffic flow and seating was specially designed for each area, giving our customers a unique dining experience at each venue within the location.

Elon University and its students are increasingly conscious of their effect on the environment and ARAMARK’s commitment to sustainability on campus, particularly at Colonnades, is vast. We have the following sustainability initiatives in place at Colonnades:

  • Recycling (paper, plastic, cans, cardboard); implemented in 2007
  • Composting (averaging about 6500 lbs per month); implemented in 2008
  • Filtered water and aluminum water bottles (saving thousands of plastic bottles per month from entering landfills); implemented in 2008
  • Greenware products (cold cups, straws, recycled napkins); implemented in 2007
  • Trayless dining (saving water and waste); implemented in 2007
  • Recyclemania participation (outperforming many of our peer and aspirant institutions in pounds recycled per capita); implemented in 2007
  • Fair Trade Certified Coffee; implemented in 2007
  • Divert 100% of fryer oil waste; implemented in 2007
  • Earth Day menus (featuring organic, sustainable and local offerings); implemented in 2007
  • Purchase of local produce; implemented in 2007
  • Refillable mugs with discounted refills (saving disposable paper hot and corn-based cold cups); implemented in 2007
  • Green cleaning products (our next initiative for the 2009-2010 school year)
  • LEED designed building

Elon Dining values the input of our customers and clients and we pride ourselves in staying abreast of the ever-changing needs of our campus community and remain innovators in dining services. Our management offices, located in Colonnades, facilitate an open-door policy. Our customers are welcome to come in and speak with our management with suggestions or personal needs. We also conduct a semi-annual campus wide dining survey gauging the needs and desires of our customers. We are currently implementing a symbol to identify to our customers which changes were made as a result of their survey feedback. Focus groups are conducted regularly to gain input on specific changes we are looking to make. We develop relationships with on-campus groups to ensure that they know that we are always accessible resources available to them. Our website,, provides menus, nutritional information, service hours, special events and contact information and a “feedback” link which emails directly to our Senior Food Service Director. Elon Dining stands alone in flexibility, providing a multitude of locations and styles of dining, meal plan rollover, and ways to use a meal plan (traditional dining, grab n’ go combo meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner).

ARAMARK Higher Education prides itself in being a company “where the best people want to work.” Therefore, we have regimented on-boarding and training programs. We are eager to cross-train and promote our employees, and pay above standard wage to create an environment of motivated workers and positive morale. Throughout our employee’s careers, we conduct routine customer service training through our Human Resources department and ensure that employees are properly placed and able to advance their career as they learn. You will often find our exceptional managers working side by side with our hourly employees to create a team environment and ensure that the customers are being taken care of.

At Elon University, an on-campus tour is all it takes to win over prospective students. We ensure that our facilities are always in top shape, with walk-thru’s conducted regularly by Marketing and Management. Our program’s features and special events are communicated to our customers and prospective students by our on-site Marketing Manager and through many types of media. From digital advertising on our LCD screens within the location, to weekly table tents and panel boards, our students are always in the know. We are also able to advertise on our dining website and through the University website’s announcement board (e-Net!). In addition, we have recently implemented a Facebook page where, beginning in fall 2009, students can become fans and receive updates, specials and promotional information via their Facebook account. This page may also be accessed by prospective students with information and pictures of our dining venues.

Maintaining quality is important to Elon University and Elon Dining Services. The University and Dining Services set a budget with the goal of continuing to enhance the dining program with new concepts, brands and events, as well as cover operational costs, such as food, labor, utilities, building operations, equipment and renovations. We have managed to increase cost efficiency, even during this difficult economic environment without sacrificing quality. We are accomplishing this by monitoring our portions and reducing waste and primarily by managing the products we order and making more items from scratch. By doing so, we have actually improved the quality of our offerings and allowed ourselves to offer more variety such as items primarily found in retail.