Zest, the ground floor restaurant in the main Restaurant Building, underwent a minor refurbishment this year, with a refreshment of the offers and range of food provided to customers – including all Zest salads and world food vegetarian options which are now 100% vegan – accompanying the introduction of a new layout, replacement seating and lighting.
The Bio Café received a new hot counter alongside a host of new offers and the infrastructure of our food outlets also saw improvements to meet demand, increase efficiency and provide better service, with the installation of new dishwashers in Zest and the Modern Life Café at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts.
Improved marketing of offers and deals – including the development of a marketing calendar and greater emphasis on generating awareness through social media – has increased the engagement with students and staff. A new improved menu also generated many compliments from visitors on our successful Applicant Days throughout the year.
A focus on engagement with customers continued with the introduction of the Tipps app. This enables customers to provide immediate, real-time feedback (feedback which is incentivised through freebies) which the Catering team can then take action on.
New initiatives included the Jazz and Cocktail nights in Vista as well as licensed evening trade in Ziggy’s on the Shopping Street.
Hosted in conjunction with the Live Music Society and hosting performances from a variety of local musical acts, the open mic evenings were a tremendous success. In addition, the Curry and Quiz night - organised by the Catering team – raised £750 for Children in Need.
The Campus Kitchen celebrated the festive period by bringing back old style school puddings for its successful winter out of term menu and provided a great deal for the hard working colleagues and contractors across Campus with the very popular Hot TRADEitional Friday breakfast offer.
Staffing rotas were reviewed over the year, including opportunities for students to take on casual contracts. This has improved flexibility across the food outlets, providing the ability for Catering to cover peak times more effectively and become more efficient out of term.
The Campus Kitchen continues to invest and develop its staff. This year eLearning Level 2 Food Safety training became mandatory for all catering staff and Barista training (and refresher training) was provided via supplier, ensuring the best espresso based drinks and service were on offer to customers.
In addition, Catrin Darsley of our Sustainability team provided Sustainability Awareness sessions for all staff (to learn how you could do your bit to become more sustainable visit SustainableWays).
In conclusion, the end of the year financial results show a 36.5% improvement to bottom line versus last year. A very good year!
No staff or students at UEA could go about their work or studies without the services of the Estates team, who maintain the campus grounds and buildings, from security to cleaning and space management to sustainability.
With such a wide range of responsibilities, the team is constantly working to ensure that daily life runs smoothly at UEA – and that means maintaining a strong focus on customer service.
“Our customers tell us we’re doing a good job, but we’re always looking for ways to improve,” said Justin Rhys, Customer Liaison Officer. “We continually listen to and act on feedback and run a Customer Perception Survey every two years, which gives us the opportunity to step back, look at how we operate and take action where it’s needed.”
As a result of the 2015 survey, the new role of Building Fabric Manager was created to speed up estimates and small works activities. Thanks to this, 67% of staff who responded to the 2017 survey said they were happy with time taken to complete their requests - a 23% improvement on 2015 - and fewer than 0.5% of jobs resulted in complaints.
There’s also been a 10% increase (68% to 78%) in satisfaction with communication about the status of maintenance jobs following a restructure of the Maintenance team, additional resource for the Helpdesk and the introduction of a new contractor for non-emergency small works and estimates.
Another popular innovation is the self-service auto-responders – by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Help” or “?” in the subject field, customers can see real-time status information about maintenance work.
“We’re delighted that 82% of respondents agree that fixing problems is a particular strength of Estates, and almost 70% are happy with the speed at which we fix problems,” said Justin. “The technology we’ve introduced for the Helpdesk team has also improved our performance, with 81% of respondents happy with our service.”
Some of the most complicated challenges are faced by the Space team, whose role is to balance the needs of the University with the available space. Their ability to deliver this balancing act was recognised by the 86% of customers who agreed that they complete their tasks successfully, with 75% were happy overall, compared with 55% in 2015.
Refurbishments can cause the biggest disruption, but improved communication via the monthly Projects Forum has also seen satisfaction levels with the way these projects are handles jump from 51% in 2015 to 77% this year.
The greatest accolades were for the Security team, however, with 92% of respondents saying they’re happy with the services they provide, 92% saying they’re friendly and helpful, and 91% saying they help to make them feel safe and secure on campus.
“We’re very happy that the changes we introduced following the 2015 survey have had such positive results and look forward to continuing to offer our customers excellent service,” said Justin.