Retail Dining Evolution at Middlesex University

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The Making Of The Partnership

Chartwells Universities, has a long-standing partnership with Middlesex University, dating all the way back to 1994.

A partnership as successful as this one, is rooted in our combined passion for change, evolution and providing the best student experience we can, on campus.

We know that for our partners at Middlesex, creating a home that feels like a community for their students is of the utmost importance. Whilst a recent report tells us that 90% of university students still dine off campus once a week, we're glad to have surpassed expectations when it comes to the dining experiences at Middlesex, where we serve an average of 4,000 students daily around the campus.

Putting Retail Concepts To Work On Campus

Our open communication and collaborative partnership approach enables us to fully understand and action the demands of our students, revamp, and reinvigorating our food and beverage offering on campus.

Over the years, we’ve headed the requests from students for well-known and familiar brands on campus. Today, the campus food quad is packed with well-known retail chains and acts as a primary meeting and social space for students

For example, we introduced Greggs to our partners' campus in September 2021, and the response was inspiring, with sales skyrocketing to around £2,000 per day at Greggs alone.

And that’s not all…

With our £1.3 million food outlet investment, we’ve brought in well-known brands like Starbucks, Subway, Costa, Tortilla, Runway, and ChangePlease to the campus eating experience, and student footfall has grown significantly.

With an average January 2023 spend per student cost of £3.90 compared to January 2020's spend of £2.90, Costa is one of the Middlesex's’ best-selling outlets.

With the return of Did We Make You Smile, our student survey platform, we are continuously learning what works well, what needs to be changed, and which food products our students like. We're always evolving alongside our partner to meet their students' needs.

As a result, we’re set to expand our retail partners across the Middlesex Campus to provide an even greater variety of grab and go retail options - including the introduction of frictionless retail and click and collect.

Getting To Know Your Students As Individuals

44.3% of Middlesex students come from outside the UK, which places Middlesex in the top eight most diverse universities in the country. In total, Middlesex students come from more than 150 nations across the globe, spanning Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.

Students are looking to universities to provide an international experience, which doesn’t and shouldn’t stop with the dining experience.

Food has strong personal and cultural connotations. It fosters relationships and helps to establish student communities.

We celebrate heritage by holding international retail popup events to support those international students who are missing their loved ones and food culture.

Grow Together, Stay Together

We are delighted to be able to continue and prosper with Middlesex and in today's competitive market, collaboration is critical for university growth. We're excited to broaden our reach, enter new retail markets, and get access to new resources, technology, and skills along the way.

'Nobody beats my mom’s cooking, but knowing that when I come to Uni, 2-3 days a week, I can enjoy a variety of high-quality, and low-cost lunches is amazing, and something that many of my friends on other campuses do not have. For example, Costa Coffee opened its first location in Pakistan last year, and it was good to have a taste of something that reminded me of home when I returned after Christmas. As the student’s voice, it is vital that the needs of international students are acknowledged, and I believe that Chartwells Universities does this very well through its culinary offerings and cultural pop-ups.' - Najiha Malik, Student Vice President, Middlesex University

'I’ve worked for Chartwells Universities for 24 years! That's scary to say. I believe that my long-term expertise proves that I am well-versed in the university market, which is critical to our success. Middlesex is my home soil, and I understand what the students desire. It's difficult not to when I'm linked to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our retail outlets have been extremely successful. ChangePlease, for example, may not always resonate with all student groups, but because I know my students, I thought it would be great for our Arts and Creative building. Which it has been. Not to be clichéd, but they care more about the ethical and social background of the products they buy, and ChangePlease has that in a nutshell, which is why we are starting to see in increase in sales' - Jo Walton, Contract Director, Middlesex University

'It's incredible to see how much our retail space has changed over the years, and with the support of Chartwells Universities, it can only get better from here. Our teams are extremely adaptable and are taught by both the brands and Chartwells Universities, providing a double-whammy of experience! The nicest aspect is that when we're short on employees, I can switch my barista from Costa to Starbucks with the flick of a finger and not sacrifice quality. I've never worked with a brand that is so adaptable in terms of food and training.' - Ioana Bunea, Retail Manager, Middlesex University

Collaboration is critical if you want to expand your university. If you're unsure where to begin, contact our Partnership Manager, Liam Brill, at liam.brill@compass-group.co.uk, who can assist you in finding the best solution for your students.

Talk to our business development team

Whether you’d like to discuss how our school and education catering experiences could inspire your pupils or students, or you’re interested in partnering with our brilliant teams across the UK, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re always happy to help! For all other enquiries, please visit our other enquiries page. 

Email: enquiries@chartwells.co.uk 

Phone: 0800 917 6818

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