Posted on 12 January 2020
The University of York staff survey in 2017 highlighted that the current catering facilities on campus did not always meet the needs of the staff surveyed. Similar feedback from students triggered a full review of catering provision and the formation of the Catering Strategy Review Group chaired by Jon Timmis, our Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange at the time. The group membership represented all staff and student groups, with many changes delivered in partnership with YUSU.
Throughout 2018 the Group reviewed the existing offer, agreed what success for catering would look like, surveyed over 1,300 staff and students and hosted focus groups to gauge feedback. The Review Group came up with recommendations that have been worked up into catering improvement action plans to deliver on-going change and developments.
We joined together with YUSU to launch the Yorcup scheme in January 2019. We’ve sold over 3,500 reusable cups. On campus there are now around 700 fewer disposable cups being used daily compared with 2018. Our Yorcup customers have saved themselves over £14,000 since January 2019 due to the 20p discount every time they shop.
Part of levy paid by customers not using Yorcup is being used to promote a reduction in single use plastics via a University branded water bottle to encourage customers to refill rather than purchase another drink. The levy has also paid for 200 bamboo food containers to give away in conjunction with promotions to encourage the use of reusable takeaway containers in the future.
More water fountains can be found on campus, including cafes. All are listed on the Yorkshire Water Refill app to promote a reduction in single use plastics. Plastic bottled drinks are being phased out and replaced with cans and tetra pack containers where possible.
We’ve introduced unbleached and recycled napkins, and removed all plastic cutlery in outlets. We’re working with YUSU and the Estates department to recycle coffee cups on campus.
We’re working with Starbucks and Costa to reduce the use of plastic and introduce cup recycling, and with Your Cafe and Fill Bellies, Not Bins to promote waste food reduction. Any larger volumes of food waste caused by events such as open days and large conferences are donated to a local homeless shelter.
You told us you wanted healthier options including non-meat and vegan products. Wentworth has now become Vedge, a plant-based cafe focussing on falafel, hummus, fresh zingy salads and bread to build your own veggie lunch.
We’ve introduced new dishes such as a grains salad range and hot fresh bagels in the Library cafe, halloumi fries and avocado smash in Alcuin Bistro.
Your feedback told us you wanted cheaper food choices and meal deals so we’ve introduced new initiatives and schemes including: reducing fruit prices to 50p and reducing the Vanbrugh meal deal to £3.95. We have held prices this year of baguettes, soup, salads and jacket potatoes, and we’re introducing an Essential range of sandwiches and hot lunches to offer greater choice and value. More offers are coming so keep an eye on the Eat at York web pages.
The look of Vedge has changed, making it fresher, brighter and more inviting. New furniture for the decking will be in place for spring 2020. Derwent furniture and decor has been refreshed, in partnership with YUSU.
We’re creating new venues which will offer more facilities across campus and better social spaces to work in, dine and relax. Phase One cafe will open in the Catalyst Building on Campus East in early 2020 offering a high end but on-trend cafe for Campus East.
In summer 2020 a large cafe will open in the new Management School on Church Lane, offering a high street feel, Starbucks coffee, artisan sandwiches and better linkage between the two campuses. Our aim is to have an option for you no more than five minutes away anywhere on campus.
Kings Manor Refectory will close in December, but plans are in progress to secure a new site for a cafe within Kings Manor. A survey has been conducted with the Kings Manor residents to seek their views and opinions.
Following feedback regarding queueing and speed of service we are currently rolling out a barista training plan to all our serving staff. We are also planning a Service Excellence training plan starting 2020 to improve the speed and consistency of service.
We appreciate all the feedback we receive and have changed the way in which we collect, analyse, measure and respond to the things you tell us.