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Customer Satisfaction and University Foodservice. Continuous Quality Improvement Project Ashley Bryant The University of Southern Mississippi. Overview. Background Literature Review Methodology Results Discussion Recommendations Questions. Background.

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Customer satisfaction and university foodservice

Customer Satisfaction and University Foodservice

Continuous Quality Improvement Project

Ashley Bryant

The University of Southern Mississippi


  • Background

  • Literature Review

  • Methodology

  • Results

  • Discussion

  • Recommendations

  • Questions


  • The Fresh Food Company (FFCo) on The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) campus is operated by ARAMARK

    • Eagle Dining’s “premiere residential restaurant”

    • Convenient location that offers a variety of foods

    • ‘All-you-care-to-eat’ dining at 10 featured stations

    • Open weekdays 7:00 am- 8:00 pm

    • Lunch/Dinner $8.99 with cash or $7.99 with Dining Dollars


  • 2:00-4:00 pm considered “snack period”

    • Sizzle offers hot menu items made-to-order

  • Management hopes students view snack period at Sizzle as opportunity for fresh-cooked meal at any time of the day

Problem objectives
Problem & Objectives

  • Problem:

    • Negative feedback from students regarding Sizzle station during 2:00-4:00 pm snack period

  • Objectives:

    • Determine issues contributing to customer dissatisfaction

    • Determine areas for quality improvement based on data collected and current literature

Literature review
Literature Review

  • The most important effects on customer satisfaction:

    • Customer service, food quality, and atmosphere (Baden & Spiller, 2009)

    • Food quality—including freshness, appearance, nutrition, quality of food is consistent, and taste (Kim, Moreo, & Yeh, 2004)

    • Food variety, taste, and offering nutritional information about menu items (Hyeja, Tongkyung, & Mattila, 2005)

    • Food taste, menu item, consistency of taste, freshness, frequency of preference, combination of main menu and side menu, and quality of material (Kim, Lee, & Yuan, 2012)

  • Customer experience impacts satisfaction and customer visits (Choi, Wilson, & Fowler, 2013)


  • Protocol is that food items are made-to-order during snack

  • Students place order with cook

  • The cook is to prepare, plate, and serve food items to student

  • When one employee is in station

    • Responsible for taking orders, retrieving foods from storage, preparing foods, & distributing foods to customers

  • When two employees are in station

    • Second person helps take orders, retrieve food from storage, prepare fries, plate hamburgers, & distribute foods to customers

Proposed hypotheses
Proposed Hypotheses

  • Made-to-order production time is resulting in long lines

  • Students are not aware that food is made-to-order

  • Students are dissatisfied with the food items offered


  • Data collection October 23rd-24th and October 28th-29th from 2:00-4:00 pm

  • Sources of data:

    • Observance and timing of customers

    • Observance and timing of food production

    • Production sheets

    • Customer survey

  • All results were averaged for four-day period


  • Survey

    • Included six questions & a comment section

    • Students ordering from Sizzle randomly selected

    • Staff and students not ordering from Sizzle were excluded

    • Survey responses were averaged

    • The goal was 50 surveys; however only 46 usable surveys were returned

  • Production sheets were assessed to determine popularity of food items

    • Observational study

      • Production time and customer time in line

      • Customers were chosen at random

      • Approximately 20 customers were observed each day

Survey results
Survey Results

  • 18 of 46 (39%) satisfied

  • 5 of 46 (11%) not satisfied

  • 23 of 46 (50%) neutral

Production sheet results
Production Sheet Results

  • Notes:

  • Chips were not offered on October 23rd, 24th, or 28th

  • The production numbers were lower than usual on October 23rd and October 24th.

Observational study results
Observational Study Results

  • The 4-day average customer wait time was 3 minutes

  • Longest wait time over data collection period was 7 minutes

  • Average time for hamburger production was 7 minutes

  • Current practices do not follow reported protocol for made-to-order

  • Procedure inconsistent and varies daily depending on worker

  • Interviews and observations suggest line is more efficient with second employee in station


  • Hypothesis: Made-to-order production time is resulting in long lines

    • Station is not actually following made-to-order protocol

    • Only 11% felt line was too long

    • Average wait time was 3 minutes

  • Hypothesis: Students are not aware that food is made-to-order

    • Majority of students (63%) are unaware

  • Hypothesis: Students are dissatisfied with the food items offered

    • Majority of students (56%) dissatisfied with food options


  • Consistency of service

    • Production and service should be consistent with policies and procedures

    • If snack period is marketed as made-to-order, foods should be prepared in that manner

    • If facility chooses to prepare food ahead of time, period should no longer be marketed as made-to-order


  • Marketing

    • If made-to-order concept continues, the snack period should be marketed as a time students can come in for a fresh-cooked meal that is made-to-order

    • Dissatisfaction with waiting could likely decrease as student awareness increased


  • Expand Menu Variety

    • Dissatisfaction with food options offered

    • No suggestions received a majority of votes

    • Further research needed

      • Possibly add menu option

      • Serve different items each day

    • Several requested healthier options

      • Baked or grilled lean protein sources

      • Whole grain breads

    • Research why students are not ordering the garden burger

      • Better marketing

      • Removal from menu


  • Dissatisfaction with menu variety is biggest problem

  • Current literature suggests menu variety one of main contributors to customer satisfaction

  • Further research needed to determine what options to add


  • Choi, E., Wilson, A., & Fowler, D. (2013). Exploring customer experiential components and the conceptual framework of customer experience, customer satisfaction, and actual behavior. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 16(4), 347-358. doi:10.1080/15378020.2013.824263

  • Hyeja, C., Tongkyung, K., & Mattila, A. S. (2005). A case study to determine the impact of offering selective menus on customer satisfaction in a health-care foodservice operation. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 8(1), 53-77. doi:10.1300/J369v08n01-05

  • Kim, H., Lee, S., & Yuan, J. (2012). Assessing college students' satisfaction with university foodservice. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 15(1), 39-48. doi:10.1080/15378020.2011.624048

  • Kim, Y.S., Moreo, P. J., & Yeh, R. M. (2004). Customers' satisfaction factors regarding university food court service. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 7(4), 97-110. doi:10.1300/J369v07n04-05

  • Lülfs-Baden, F., & Spiller, A. (2009). Students' perceptions of school meals: A challenge for schools, school-meal providers, and policymakers. Journal of Foodservice, 20(1), 31-46. doi:10.1111/j.1748-0159.2008.00121.x

  • The Fresh Food Company (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2013 from