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Frequently Asked Questions

Does this research determine the future of NACUFS?
No, the Campus Dining: 2030 and Beyond research project is focused on the foodservice industry, particularly collegiate dining. NACUFS strategy is separate and apart from this project and is determined by the NACUFS Board of Trustees. 


Who is conducting the research? 
The research is being undertaken by the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University. 


How will the research outcomes be determined?
The academic research team at Florida International University will hold focus groups, conduct surveys and bring together a diverse group of participants for a think tank style session to determine the recommendations provided in the final project. The quantitative data collection will be conducted using random sampling to ensure the data is not skewed in any direction. This data, combined with the qualitative data from the focus groups and think tank, will be analyzed and used to explore solutions to better position collegiate dining professionals as they design their future programs.


How will research participants be selected? 
Consistent with the rigors of academic research, subjects in the quantitative portion of the research will be selected via random sampling. NACUFS and the project's partners will have no impact on those selected to participate in this research. Qualitative cohorts will be designed based on the principle of optimal diversity.


Why is a diverse array of research subjects being tapped for this, rather than limiting the cohort(s) to self-operators?

Studying a diverse array of subjects who are representative of the collegiate dining industry and foodservice industry as a whole ensures that a variety of viewpoints and perspectives are included. This approach will advance the project and is expected to bring to light novel concepts that otherwise may not have been identified with a more narrowly defined cohort.


Florida International University is not a NACUFS member, why are they involved? 
An extensive RFP process took place to find the best research partner for this project, resulting in the selection of Florida International University. FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is highly ranked in the United States and globally. The university's dining department is not involved in the research. 


How were the Advisory Board members selected? 
Advisory Board members were selected based on their diversity and the specific needs of the FIU research team. Specialists in areas such as design and technology were chosen for the expertise they bring, along with operators, contract administrators, and others with a broad scope of knowledge. 


What is the role of the Advisory Board?

The Advisory Board’s role is to ensure the overall project is inclusive of varied stakeholder groups. They also ensure that the research/research design looks at the immediate environment as well as the broader environment or context. However, the research design and protocol decisions will be made by the FIU research team, not the Advisory Board.


Is NACUFS partnering with anyone on this project?
Yes, although NACUFS is the sole research sponsor and entity contracted with FIU, NACUFS has a limited number of partners who are providing funds to NACUFS to offset the project costs. These partners are not in a position to influence the research outcomes in any way. The project is being conducted as academic research and will be held to the rigorous standards of such research.


When will the research project outcomes be available? 
The results are expected to become available to NACUFS members in the fall of 2023. 


How does this research align with NACUFS’ strategy?

NACUFS’ mission is to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining. By providing recommendations that collegiate dining operations can consider as they plan for the future, this project is directly aligned with the NACUFS mission. The NACUFS 2022-2024 strategy is built on this mission and includes four strategic initiatives, which were approved by the NACUFS Board of Trustees in the fall of 2021. These initiatives are to: 

  • Advance learning and development within the collegiate foodservice industry 
  • Communicate NACUFS brand qualities and value-added proposition to all stakeholders, including current and future members 
  • Provide pathways for all NACUFS members to optimally engage and connect 
  • Ensure that NACUFS is an inclusive organization that seeks a diverse membership and customer base

Each of these strategic initiatives will be advanced by the Campus Dining: 2030 and Beyond research project. The project will further the industry’s understanding of future challenges and create an opportunity to transfer knowledge related to the future and help operators make sound strategic decisions. The project will also create opportunities to reach new stakeholders, communicating the value of NACUFS in new ways. Further, it will provide pathways for NACUFS members to engage and connect – giving NACUFS members new ideas to ponder and work together to enact in their operations. Finally, the project is consistent with and supportive of NACUFS’ priority strategic initiative to be an inclusive organization.


Is this research project consistent with NACUFS’ core values?

Yes, this project is consistent with NACUFS’ core values of inclusiveness, continuous improvement, critical thinking, integrity and responsiveness, and the project is directly related to each value. NACUFS’ dedication to continuous improvement is exemplified in this project, as the organization works to bring new information to members. It is also an exercise in critical thinking and responsiveness, in which NACUFS has considered the outcomes and what actions must be taken to respond to the current environment. Finally, the project embodies integrity and inclusiveness, as the research is being conducted consistent with the highest academic standards and is supportive of NACUFS' strategic initiative to be an inclusive organization.


Will this program create opportunities for NACUFS members to share best practices and network?

Yes, Campus Dining: 2030 and Beyond will culminate in a symposium, allowing members to network and discuss the project in person. Members can also use the resulting research to begin conversations on NACUFS Connect, and within their own management teams.


Is this research for the benefit of self-operators?

Yes, the research resulting from Campus Dining: 2030 and Beyond will identify opportunities and challenges expected to confront collegiate dining in 2030 and beyond. Self-operators can use this information to prepare their operation for the coming years, plan for the future of technology and labor, and use the information to work on such plans with their administration.