| Unless they live in university apartments, Wayne State University campus residents are required to purchase a meal plan. The meal plan can be 5, 10, 15, or unlimited meals per week (Housing and Dining). The company that provides the food service is AVI Foodsystems. AVI is committed to customer satisfaction and service. The mission statement reads, “To be America's food service leader by passionately focusing upon excellence in product, service and relationships and by being the most innovative and exciting influence in the industry”. It can reasonably be assumed that this kind of dedication and care must mean the students who depend on AVI for sustenance are satisfied; however, that is not the case. A grassroots movement for variety has begun. Ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise are no longer enough. Some thought hot sauce would appease, but they were wrong. The students want more. The students want barbecue sauce.
To begin, barbecue sauce is considered a healthier alternative to its closest rival, ketchup. Heinz Ketchup contains 160mg of sodium per tablespoon, while Heinz Barbecue sauce only contains 125mg of sodium per tablespoon (Heinz). 35mg does not seem like a significant difference, but, considering the average person consumes about one to two servings more than one tablespoon serving size, the real difference is 70-105mg. This daily increase in sodium intake can be detrimental to one’s health. High sodium consumption has been linked to high blood pressure, which is a precursor to heart disease and stroke (Sodium Intake). AVI claims to understand the importance of healthy lifestyles for college students, and the website notes, “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in today's higher education institutions is a challenge that AVI addresses on many levels” (AVI). If AVI plans to keep its promises, then they should provide students with the lower-sodium barbecue sauce option.
Recent studies show that a large percentage of persons ages 18-24 prefer barbecue sauce to other condiments (Gibson). Since 18-22 is the primary age group of students living in the residence halls and utilizing the dining facilities, their preference for barbecue sauce should be considered. Moreover, these students are the customers AVI vows to serve and satisfy. It should go without saying the needs of the students are top priority. If the students want barbecue sauce, then the students should be given barbecue sauce.
The need for variety is another priority. Barbecue sauce is an exciting alternative to the old standard ketchup. The blend of spices is sure to add a little kick to any typical meal side or entrée. The energetic youth residing on campus need options and variety, which barbecue sauce will certainly provide. AVI strives to be an innovator. The website states, “We reach outward into the unknown to identify new and better ways of doing things and bringing products and services to market in ways others only dream of” (AVI). Providing its customers with barbecue sauce in the dining halls is just one easy way to be innovative. The plan of action is simple, but the results are extraordinary. Place a barbecue sauce dispenser next to the other condiments, and the variety, innovation, and customer satisfaction will all increase. Variety is vital for growth, and barbecue sauce is an easy answer.
The opposition fears barbecue sauce will not be adequately utilized. They believe that residents can only use the condiment with a small number of foods. In reality, barbecue sauce is among the most versatile of condiments. Pizza, hamburgers, fries, most meats, and some vegetables can all be accompanied by barbecue sauce. In nearly all of these examples, the food does not have to be cooked a certain way; the user can just pour on the sauce and it’s ready to eat. The sauce will not go unused.
Opponents also fear the financial responsibility. They wonder where the money will come from when companies, especially in Michigan, are on strict budgets. Furthermore, they cannot fathom the idea of money wasted. Once it is understood that students will definitely consume and enjoy the sauce, then propositions can be made to accommodate the cost. Spending more, which is what companies fear the most, does not have to be the only option. One idea is to decrease the amount of ketchup purchased and use the money saved to purchase barbecue sauce. Many students will use the barbecue sauce in place of the ketchup, so it is logical to buy less of the latter. Companies like AVI must be thought of as living bodies. They must grow and adapt to suit the needs of their customers. When the customers are eating less ketchup, it is time to cut the ketchup budget, and when the customers demand barbecue sauce, it is time to answer their cries.
All things considered, adding barbecue sauce dispensers to the campus dining line-up is one of the best decisions AVI Foodsystems can make to increase both customer satisfaction and company credibility. AVI aims to serve the Wayne State University campus residents, and the residents want barbecue sauce. In addition to caring for its customers, AVI boasts a passion for innovation, and no better way to innovate exists than to introduce a spicy, exciting new contender to the conventional condiment crew.
"AVI Foodsystems, Inc. - Education Campus Dining Services." AVI Foodsystems - Hospitality and Food Service Solutions for Business, Education, Healthcare and Leisure Marketplaces. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.avifoodsystems.com/education_campus_dining.php>.
Gibson, Traci. "What Your Favorite Condiment Reveals About You." Dressings and Sauces. The Association for Dressings & Sauces. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. <http://www.dressings-sauces.org/pressroom_revealsaboutyou.html>.
"Heinz It Up!" HeinzitUp.com. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.heinzitup.com/products.asp>.
"Heinz® Tomato Ketchup." Heinz® Tomato Ketchup, Recipes, Promotions, Product Information, America’s Favorite Ketchup®, Grown, Not Made.®. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.heinzketchup.com/products.aspx>.
Housing and Dining License Agreement. Detroit: Wayne State University Office of Housing & Residential Life. PDF.
"Statement on Sodium Intake and High Blood Pressure." NIH Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/new/press/17-1998.htm>.