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Two awards for Sodexo at Solent University

Sodexo at Solent University, Southampton has won the Innovation and Technology award at the 2022 U Dine awards, and hospitality manager Sam Holden received the Staff Choice award at the University’s 2022 Students’ Union Awards.

The team were awarded the U Dine award for the successful introduction of Twelve Pay app, which has improved the catering services at the university and helped reduce food waste with its new ‘cook to order’ approach.

Pictured from left are Steve Hobbs (Chair of the Foodservice Equipment Association); Nick Hayter (Group Account Manager, Sodexo); Sam Holden, and celebrity chef and awards host, Brian Turner.

The Twelve Pay app was first introduced at Solent University during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide a safe food ordering service, introducing a cashless payments, removing shared touch points and helped support the University’s social distancing measures that were required at the time.

Since its introduction the University’s catering experience has been modernised with back-of-house operations improved, a greener food service delivered. Customer feedback scores are consistently 4.75+ out of five every month.

Students have welcomed the new app which includes a built in loyalty scheme and enables them to order ahead and skip the queues or to use the Twelve Pay platform to scan and go, use QR codes or order from kiosks.

The app offers exclusive meal deal offers as well as other discounts and promotions. For added convenience there is a dedicated Twelve Pay collection point at all the catering outlets at the university.

To help improve the sustainability of the catering service at the university the app is set to ‘eat in’ as its default setting and improvements made to reusable items such as pizza boards and baskets, this is forecast to save over 30,530 take-away containers per year.

The move to a cook to order system from a traditional hot plate service combined with the use of Sodexo’s WasteWatch technology has also helped reduce food waste by 53%.

The team are also celebrating hospitality manager, Sam Holden’s recognition at the annual Students’ Union awards. The awards are just one of the events Sam and her team run for the university and is one of the highlights of the hospitality calendar with around 150 guests gathering to celebrate societies, student groups, staff & individuals who have done something exceptional at the university.

The winner of the Staff Choice Award is chosen by the student union sabbatical officers and Sam received the award from the students’ union president, Vaios Koukouletsos, who commented, “Sam is a valuable asset, providing great advice and support and never lets us down.” Sam’s win was a first for the awards as it was the first time a contracted employee had been nominated.

Simon Knight, managing director, universities, Sodexo UK & Ireland, noted, “June has been a great month for the team at Solent and we couldn’t be prouder. We are delighted that the team has received the recognition they deserve with the U DIne award.

'With a high street in close proximity to the University’s catering outlets these results are amazing, the team has worked really hard to transform the service using Twelve Pay and are now working on introducing a new click and collect service which will enhance the food services offered to students at the University.

“We are also immensely proud of Sam for winning the Staff Choice award. To be the first contracted employee to be nominated is a great achievement and to win it is amazing. Well done to all at Solent University.”

The U Dine awards is a joint initiative between Inside Foodservice and University Hospitality Seminars (UHS) and recognise and celebrate excellence and innovation in the university hospitality sector.

The six U Dine award winners will participate in a three-day European Food Study Tour to Tuscany, Italy in September 2022.

Sodexo has held the catering contract at Solent University, Southampton since 2010. In 2020 the University extended Sodexo’s contract for a further five years, the new contract saw the introduction of Sodexo’s Foodiverse at the University’s main student dining hall, The Dock.

Bringing together authentic, global cuisines served in a modern, food hall environment which puts local communities and sustainability at its heart, Foodiverse champions plant-based dishes, reusables and engages with local SMEs and suppliers to bring diversity to Solent’s campus dining experience.