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Introduction and Methodology


As the University of Houston continues to experience growth in enrollment and anticipates expansion of the central campus, it's critical that Dining Services aligns its strategic goals with the University's expected growth. To better serve the campus population and pave the road for the future of Dining Services, Chartwells Higher Education developed the UH Dining Vision Plan.

The Vision Plan is a proposal for Dining Services involving senior leadership from Chartwells Higher Education and University of Houston administration and student interest groups.

Process Goals

Enhanced services for students

Thoughtful growth

Value & satisfaction

Maximize resources

Enhanced partnerships between Dining and the University


Exploration Phase

The Exploration Phase involved the gathering of key campus-specific data and insights and an update of trends amongst college dining preferences.

Data was gathered from Nielsen to identify student preferences for retail dining. A campus districts study was conducted to understand the dining landscape within each campus district. Focus groups were conducted with 93 participants across 8 sessions, including meal plan holders, commuters, student leaders, faculty and staff, and catering clients. An intercept survey was conducted to enhance understanding of the needs of the current UH campus population, resulting in 1,027 responses.

Finally, a facilities analysis along with a review of the campus master plan and the Housing & Residential Life master plan was conducted to align Dining Services' vision with the growth plan for the University. This review identified the current dining footprint on campus in square feet, sales per square feet and key growth projections. UH Dining also reviewed classroom occupancy by district from Paulien & Associates, Inc. Data provided here indicated estimated enrollment by classroom building, by hour, by day. An average daily enrollment was calculated to utilize in analyzing traffic compared to dining square feet.

Analysis Phase

The Analysis Phase involved a review of the data in the Exploration Phase with consideration of the Process Goals. Special attention was placed on the current dining footprint, plans for future growth throughout campus and the financial performance of current dining venues.

Collaboration Phase

The Collaboration Phase took form in the Charrette that was held in April 2018, where key stakeholder groups were invited to review the findings of the Analysis Phase and determine a preliminary consensus on potential outcomes for the vision plan.


The Vision Plan's recommendations were developed in collaboration with UH Auxiliary Services leadership and UH Administration. The plan will function as a living document and guide for Dining Services through 2025.