More than Food at a College Cafeteria

By Bryan White, Stephen Brennan and Charlie Dilella

Sodexo was founded by Pierre Bellon in 1966 in Marseilles, France and is now the world leader in duality of life services. It is located in 80 countries, and employs 391,000 with consistent yearly growth. Sodexo provides services to schools, universities, hospitals, correctional facilities and other remote sites.

The mission of the company states they, “believe that the quality of daily life increases the satisfaction and motivation of individuals, and thus plays an important role in the organizational performance of our strategic partners.”

In terms of continental revenue North America holds the highest percentage with 37 percent, followed by Continental Europe, which holds 36 percent, and finishing up with the United Kingdom and Ireland which accrue about 8 percent. The rest of the world combines to equal 19 percent of Sodexo’s revenue.  Among its recent accolades Sodexo Inc. received are being placed both the 2012 Working Mother: Best Companies for Hourly Workers and was featured on 2012 Forbes Most Admired Companies List.

The two social media outlets that Sodexo currently uses at Lasell to get in touch with the community are a Facebook page and a website. The Sodexo at Lasell Facebook page is set up to promote upcoming events, special menu changes, general information regarding the college, as well as posting photographs from past events.

Since the page joined the Lasell college network, all students are invited to events such as the Midnight Breakfast, OXEDOS food truck, etc.  In an interview done with Christine Hubbard, whose job title is formally Food Service Manager but she is involved in many aspects of the Sodexo program, we learned that this is the first year that the Facebook page was established and updated daily.


“I receive a promotions kit from corporate in the spring and fall that has major events to choose from,” Christine explained about how she chooses and promotes special engagements. She recently yielded the responsibility of updating the Facebook page daily when a promotion coordinator was hired.

The second way that Sodexo at Lasell is connected to students is through its website. The website is very informative and useful to students. Among the many features are menu details, hours of operation,nutritional facts of the food, upcoming events, and ways to contact to the Sodexo at Lasell staff.

After looking at their existing social media and online accessibility, we had some suggestions that would benefit Sodexo at Lasell, as well as some praises to what has already been done.

Our first critique was to start a Sodexo at Lasell Twitter feed. This would be very useful in updating students about the daily menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It would also help promote upcoming events or the new design for the cafeterias. A Twitter account would be also used to answer questions that students may have regarding the meal or respond to a problem faster to give feedback.  Currently the best way they are answering quick questions or suggestions is on a napkin board. Though the answers are promptly responded, if done electronically this could enhance the experience of connecting students and the cafeteria staff. Twitter helps any business stay connected with its clientele within seconds.


We also thought that using the newer types of social media such as a Flickr or a Pinterest account would be effective. Having these newer forms of outreach would give students a lot more ways to connect to the program.  Especially services like these which are mainly for image sharing. Both students and staff could submit their photographs and contests could even take place for the best weekly photos, for example.

We had no problems with the Sodexo Lasell dining website and thought it was very effective and easy to use. In fact Christine said that, “several students this year have been hired because of the website employment section.”  Also the changing of the meal plan process has gone on seamlessly thanks to the extra communication online.

One new detail we got from our interview was that a second promotions coordinator was being brought on for the new academic year. With this second coordinator on board, proper analytics could be done to see if these new proposed social media ideas are being used effectively and to track how many people are engaging through them.

From this critique of a corporation we can see that no matter how established the company or business, social media is important to relating to a whole new type of audience.  Christine said it best, “I notice that students pay more attention to phones and computers than signs in the café.”


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