3 Non-Negotiables in Campus DiningThe 3 non-negotiables of any successful campus dining location are… drumroll, please!

1. Relevance
2. Speed
3. Value


Hear us out!


Relevance is all about giving students what they want. Whether it’s a specific brand or a specific menu category, you want to make sure you are delivering options that will resonate with your student population. Relevance is a bit of a moving target, as preferences do change over time. However, continually bringing relevant brands and flavors onto campus is a sure way to keep your students delighted and engaged.

It’s also a demonstration of your innovation. Dining is a huge attraction for the admissions process in addition to being a major factor in student retention. Stay up to date on trends, choose relevant brands or menu categories and get your students talking. It’s a good publicity move, and it’s genuine too.



This one is a no-brainer. Students are on tight schedules, and when they need food, they need it now. Nothing is worse than wasting time in long lines. There are two ways around this: faster concepts and more options. Fast casual brands like Qdoba and TaKorean have this down pat. Having a smooth and fast operation is guaranteed to increase satisfaction and increase sales. More throughputs = more sales. In addition, having enough options is essential too. In our next email, we’ll be sharing more information on the ideal number of retail locations per on-campus student.



Value can be perceived in two ways: 1) Quantity 2) Quality … Are students getting enough bang for their buck? Are they getting what they pay for? Considering every higher ed cost, it’s important that students get a sense of value with every swipe. Dining halls are great, but they aren’t always convenient, and frankly, it’s nice to have other options. With every brand OCB’s vet, we evaluate ingredients, plate costs and average meal costs, and we work with every concept to ensure students (and campus execs like yourself) are getting the best deal. (And let’s be honest, this is our responsibility: to offer satisfying meals without breaking students’ banks. Students don’t need to pay $15 for lunch.)

As for philanthropy? While Gen Z’s love a philanthropic brand and are highly charitable, this value is more of an attraction than a fundamental. It’s nice to have, but without relevance, speedy throughputs and the right price point, a campus dining location has no legs to stand on.