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Campus Foodservice Giant Chartwells Brings Ghost Kitchens to Universities




Chartwells Higher Education, a food service management company, announced today that it has launched a ghost kitchen program for university campuses. Chartwells has already piloted the program at several schools, including Seattle University, SUNY Buffalo State University, University of Utah, University of Texas at Dallas, and San Jose State University.

Chartwells has worked with these schools to develop some new dietary concepts suitable for delivery. For example, the company has worked with Seattle University to open a ghost kitchen to test 12 rotating entrees and desserts that students can order via the existing Chartwells mobile app. Most of Seattle University’s physical campuses were closed in the fall semester of 2020, so ghost kitchen pilots could also serve as a test of how the university serves students, even when the cafeteria is closed. It was. Meals were available for both delivery and non-contact pickup.

Chartwells said there were more than 24,000 orders via the mobile app within the first month of Seattle University testing. In a press release, Seattle University Resident District Manager Terry Konati, the partnership offers students many new menu options without adding human resources or compromising social distance guidelines. Therefore, he said that there are merits on both sides.

Chartwells serves more than 300 campuses. According to the company, the ghost kitchen program will add rather than replace existing dining options. The idea is to take advantage of the underutilized kitchen space on campus that can be turned into a ghost kitchen.

Historically, few would have called a university campus a hotbed because of food technology innovation. With the rise of apps like MealMe and GoodUncle (the latter acquired by food service giant Aramark), the presence of on-campus delivery bots, and the unique knowledge of Generation Z, it has begun to change slowly over the last few years. It was. High-tech-led dining experience.

Nor are Chartwells alone bringing ghost kitchens to campus. Last month, Hospitality Platform C3 worked with Graduate Hotels to add a ghost kitchen to the university town.

The ghost kitchen format is clearly suitable for the university market. Students eat day and night, a schedule that is usually not available during traditional canteen hours. Also, for the dining room, it’s unclear if there will be a traditional cafeteria-style setting after the class returns to the actual campus. For these spaces, social distance needs to be considered and some students may find it difficult to eat safely in the cafeteria. Universities need to offer alternative options such as pick-up and delivery.

The school is also full of underutilized kitchen space. For smaller campuses, some are sufficient when it comes to servicing the entire student body. For large schools, you can imagine a network of ghost kitchens strategically placed around the campus. Each kitchen accommodates different dorm and apartment blocks. Meals ordered from the campus ghost kitchen may also be counted as part of the student’s meal plan. This is considerably cheaper than those who have to order from DoorDash every night.

When a school returns to a session depends greatly on the individual institution. Many people now have hybrid online-offline sessions. Many new dietary options for students appear to be directed both to accommodate these fluctuating schedules and to bid by schools to accommodate the changing times of food service.


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