University of Exeter
Falmouth University College

Hospitality review

Falmouth Exeter Plus - Hospitality and Event Catering Review (2016/17)

Background and Objectives

Following the first impressions review by the Interim CEO, Falmouth Exeter Plus, it was identified that the Penryn Hospitality Service did not meet the requirements of the universities and a review was commissioned with overall objectives to: 

  • Ensure it was the hospitality service of choice for both universities, FX Plus and FXU

  • Organise the team to meet service delivery requirements

  • Deliver an easy to access and customer friendly service

  • Provide value for money, maximising income and minimising cost

 To meet these objectives, the review followed four stages:

 1. Service Review (Data gathering)     

The Voice of the Customer

Customer Feedback Survey - To ensure the review captured the experience of staff using the Penryn Hospitality Service and to understand why it is not always our customers’ first choice, a customer survey was undertaken as follows:

233 Surveys sent to all staff from across Falmouth University (both those based on the Penryn Campus and those based on the Falmouth Campus), University of Exeter (both those based in Penryn and those based in Exeter), FX Plus and FXU, all of whom had ordered hospitality from the Penryn Hospitality Service within the last 2 years.

115 Responses received (49% Response rate)  

1:1 Customer Interviews - All survey respondents were offered the opportunity to take part in 1:1 interviews with the Head of Catering Services. 9 x respondents took part, all of whom made frequent hospitality, event and VIP catering orders. 

Kinetics (Kx) Data – The CRM software provided data on buyer behaviour, detailing what had been ordered in the preceding year and by whom. This helped identify redundant items and fed into the design of the new menus.


Against Local Hospitality Suppliers – Those used by customers in the last year, reviewing their service offering, price, value for money etc

Against other universities - A selection of large and small universities, with a particular emphasis on those in the SW.

2.  Data Analysis 

  1. The data gathered was analysed and proposals summarised below:




Poor presentation

  • Updated service specification
  • Purchased new presentation equipment
  • Uniforms provided for staff

Poor value for money

  • Customer promise
  • More options at different price points
  • Herbal tea included in tea/coffee order as standard
  • ‘Make a meal of it’  - full buffet + economies of scale
  • Mix and match

Lower the min. order             Lower delivery timescales

  • Min. 1 cover on many items
  • Min. 4 covers introduced
  • Delivery timescales amended to match local suppliers

More choice, especially for dietary needs

  • More Vegan, Vegetarian, DF and GF options as standard
  • Mix and match - supports dietary needs + personal taste

More Cornish options

  • Old favourites and new Cornish treats across price points

Missing items

  • Check lists generated from online order form (Sept 2017)

Coffee is disgusting!

  • Existing coffee changed to match Koofi coffee offering

Quicker response time for bespoke requirements

  • Costs and GPs for all items provided to Hospitality Processing Team to enable them to make most amendments and substitutions direct with client
  • Dedicated Supervisor to offer bespoke and timely customer service

What do I get and what does it look like?

  • Over the coming months, our web pages will be updated to include: photography, menu contents, dietary needs, guest buffet, seasonal variations etc

 This information was used to produce the new service offering, ensuring menus and service matched customer feedback.

3. Operational Analysis

A full process review was undertaken, looking at the customer journey from ordering to delivery.  The purpose of this was to identify areas where efficiencies could be made, taking into consideration feedback from customers on where the process could be improved or where there are delays

1:1 Hospitality Delivery Team Interviews - Operational issues faced by the Hospitality Delivery Team were reviewed, and, where possible, creative solutions found to make service delivery smoother for the delivery team.

1:1 Hospitality Processing Team Interviews - Operational issues faced by the Hospitality Processing Team were reviewed and a list of future developments created that will enhance the customer experience and make service delivery smoother for them.

Shadowing – Shadowing of both the Hospitality Delivery Team and the Hospitality Processing Team offered further insight and an opportunity to view operational issues in situ

4. Future Developments

Continuous Improvement – The testing phase for the new menus and service will run to September 2017, with lots of opportunities for everyone to feed back. The aim is continuous improvement and feedback mechanisms will include comment cards, customer focus groups, informal feedback gathering etc. The process of data gathering, analysis and service improvement will continue, always putting customers at the centre of the service offering.

Seasonal/Dietary Variations – Seasonal variations and further dietary variations will be introduced to empower the Penryn Hospitality Team in providing more variety to customers.

Online Ordering – The online ordering system is currently under development. This will simplify both the customer journey and service delivery for operational teams. It is anticipated that this will be available from September 2017.

Voucher Portal – The voucher ordering service requires simplification to become less labour-intensive. The Voucher Ordering Portal is under development which will also improve invoicing speed as voucher collation tends to hold everything up. It is anticipated that this will be available from September 2017.

Collections – Working pattern of staff have changed, encouraging TOIL to meet business need, and working with other FX Plus delivery teams to ensure a smoother out of hours’ collection service without incurring overtime costs.

Falmouth Campus – The Falmouth Campus was originally excluded from the Hospitality Review as their issues were thought to be different to those of the Penryn Hospitality Service. However, the Customer Survey revealed that customers did not view the two Campus’ differently, and actually wanted a similar service at both Campus’. Consequently, the Falmouth Hospitality Menus have been developed to be as close as possible to those at the Penryn Campus, and Falmouth Campus will be included in all future developments – the aim is to deliver one service across both Campus’, but this will require development and resource and a separate business case will be provided in due course.

To view the Penryn Hospitality Service offering, please visit:

If you would like to discuss the Hospitality Review in more detail, please get in touch:

Heather Fitzgerald

Head of Campus & Commercial Events

Falmouth Exeter Plus

T: 01326-370473





Summer Ball 2019

Tickets now on sale for the Summer Ball Carnival!!