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Since the new school year got under way, Sodexo has been running its first pop-up service line at the Karel de Grote University College. Sodexo’s Service Portfolio Manager Agnes Toet took time out to provide some background on this Belgian first.



Service Portfolio Manager Sodexo

“The pop-up service line is our brand new, contemporary and temporary concept for university colleges, universities and businesses. At the Karel de Grote University College this academic year we’ll have three different pop-ups taking turns every six weeks. The whole idea for the university college is to call on the services of local players as widely as possible. Since early September, it is also home to Sodexo’s very first food corner, Taco Jacks.”

A scheme which came in from The Netherlands?

“That’s right. We already have a pop-up service line up and running at a number of university colleges and universities in Utrecht and Amsterdam. This is Sodexo acting in response to the trend where students want more of a high-street F&B experience. They’ve grown a little weary of the traditional self-service restaurant where they’re made to queue up, platter in hand. They want greater variety.”

Have you noticed this trend in Belgium too?

“Yes. Students here have fully embraced the grab & go, street food and food truck trend. Getting a quick and tasty snack is an attractive proposition for young people. The same trend is increasingly seen in business restaurants too. They’re looking to infuse their food offering with much more of a dynamic feel.”

“Every six weeks, we’ve got a whole new look & feel. It’s definitely a highly flexible formula.”

What’s special about your food corner is that it’s aiming to deliver a total experience …

“We’re completely decking out our food corner in our brand style. For Taco Jacks, this mainly revolves around green, yellow and red hues. For another one of our service lines, Spices (a concept around Indian curries), we’ve gone for more of a dark pink colour. We not only dress up the counters, we do likewise with the price lists, staff apparel, etc. Which means that, every six weeks, we’ve got a whole new look & feel. It’s definitely a highly flexible formula.”

So what’s on the menu?

“Taco Jacks is all about traditional Mexican cuisine. With a fully tailored menu, from drinks to hot and cold dishes and desserts. Our customers can choose from a range of burritos, tacos, Mexican salads … Each week, we also add a suggestion, such as vegetarian chilli for instance.”

All to the students’ taste, we hope?

“You betcha! The first response has been overwhelmingly positive. The sheer number of students turning out is another mark of how much Taco Jacks is relished. In November, Taco Jacks will be replaced at Karel de Grote by the new pop-up Spices (Asian cuisine). Definitely to be continued!”


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