Building community through good food

MRU and Chartwells celebrate new partnershi

Grilled chicken and spring vegetable salad.

The Mount Royal community can expect to see many exciting changes to enhance their dining experience on campus, including refreshed culinary areas, new food offerings and added culinary brands.

Mount Royal University has welcomed a new member to the university community whose main agenda is to keep the campus well-fed and nourished. A new partnership with well-known food provider Chartwells will provide several more options for getting some good grub to keep the mind and body agile.

Completing this agreement was important to the University. MRU has made a commitment to catering excellence that will be impactful for everyone on campus.

“Having a deliberate strategy to meet the unique needs of our campus community is extremely important as we try to create a ‘food culture’ that contributes positively to the university experience,” says director of Event and Theatre Services Brent Mann.

“The diversity in food options at MRU needs to be considered closely in building food experiences that are designed by being mindful of cultural differences, culinary preferences, food allergies, nutrition and the varied budgets that people have for food.”

From a culinary perspective, the quality of catering services will be critical as MRU looks to expand on the number of events, weddings, conferences and performances that are held on campus annually once pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

“We have had a tremendous focus in making our MRU Catering Services part of our value proposition for external groups and anticipate growth in our off-site services to the rest of the Calgary community,” Mann says.

Despite the fact that MRU is currently seeing a significant decrease in its on-campus population due to the COVID-19 crisis, continuing to have high-quality and consistent levels of food service for students was a priority for senior leadership at Mount Royal.

“We were able to work extremely hard in a very short period of time to build an optional dining plan that creates significant benefits to students living on campus including nutritious food options and safe social interaction opportunities that contribute positively to physical and mental health.”

Providing a safe setting at The Table was a goal Mann and his department took very seriously, knowing that this newly formed partnership would help to positively contribute even a small amount to the MRU campus experience during these challenging times. The partnership with Chartwells became a reality through a tremendous collaboration between the OneCard office, Hospitality Services, ITS, Building Operations, Financial Services and Chartwells in creating an optional dining plan that had never existed at Mount Royal before.

Beginning in 2021, the campus community will be using integrated technology to improve safety and overall service experience in The Table.

“The launch of the Boost App will have some immediate impacts for students living in Residence as well as our students, staff and faculty who are studying and working on campus,” Mann says. “They will be able to order their meal from their phone and pick up their order from an express location at The Table that will not require them to stand in line to order or pay for their meal.”

The focus at this stage is to create a safe environment and pick-up option with minimum contact that will allow customers to enjoy the dining area at The Table or take their food back to their residence room or office. There will also be ordering kiosks at each location similar to what you would normally see at McDonald’s that will let customers bypass the line up to place orders. The Boost app will be available at Tim Hortons and Starbucks in Fall 2021.

“Establishing a partnership with MRU is a great privilege for Chartwells,” says Ken Monteith, regional vice-president with Chartwells. “While navigating through the many changes and new opportunities this unique year presents, launching a new partnership amid COVID-19 requires an elevated safety focus, creativity and collaboration as we work together to ensure the MRU community is nourished and cared for.

“I’m proud to say that our Chartwells team has embraced this task, and we look forward to strengthening our relationship in the coming years.”

The MRU community can expect to see many exciting changes to enhance their dining experience on campus, including refreshed culinary areas, new food offerings and added culinary brands. New concepts such as Grill & Co and Artisan Deli have been launched, and future projects include renovating Tim Hortons and bringing fast, fresh handmade pizza to the campus with San Marzano pizza.

“Another exciting addition is the Globally Local station, which features international global flavours providing delicious variety on a rotating schedule. From new culinary experiences to digital innovation, Chartwells has many exciting plans in store for the MRU campus community,” Monteith says.

Keep up to date on the latest culinary news on campus. Expect more information on the launch of the Boost app soon.

Jan. 4, 2021 — Jonathan Anderson

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