Goodbye QBOT. Goodbye BK?: Sodexo removes reward system, questions Burger King’s sustenance

Bobby Shipman

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Burger King

The Burger King line had only a few customers around noon Monday and again around noon Tuesday. Photo by Bobby Shipman/The Shield

The USI community could be waving goodbye to more than just a partnership with QBOT in its future.

During Thursday’s Student Government Association Meeting, Sodexo and its student board of directors made a handful of announcements regarding future plans for Food Services.

Burger King – remove or revamp?

A new plan set forth by Sodexo could result in the removal of Burger King from USI’s campus.

 

The Sodexo student board of directors implemented student satisfaction surveys Monday to see if the student body would like Burger King to be replaced or see improvements made, and to address other Soxedo related concerns.

The board will also host small group discussions to decipher the best resolution that fits the majority of student need.

Sodexo General Manager Chris Briggs said the change is not definite.

“Is it adequate? Do we need to change it? Do we need to look at another concept?” are questions Briggs said they will try to figure out.

Briggs said if the results show and the student board of directors feels it is time to change or remove Burger King, then Sodexo will develop a plan prior to Christmas and implement changes the following summer.

The idea for the change was sparked by negative feedback in annual surveys Sodexo distributes.

“There was mention that people are tired of Burger King,” Briggs said.

The most prevalent indicator that it’s time for a change, however, was the decrease in sales and customer counts over the past three years, he said.

Customer count dropped 10 percent from fall 2013 to fall 2014, and fell 8-10 percent between fall 2012 and fall 2013.

“Everything else is going up. Cyclone Salads, Fiesta Fuego has gone way up this year, Sub Connection, The Loft,” Briggs said in regard to sales. “No matter what we try to do – what we try to change – it’s just headed in the same direction.”

Archie’s Pizzeria has also held its own, but Briggs said they plan to renovate it as well.

The Burger King was added to campus in 2002 and Briggs said they have always received positive grades from Steritech, which administers Sodexo’s inspection. They received two As – one in brand standards and one infood safety – at their last inspection.

Qbye-bye

Sodexo announced Feb. 4, that it would be ending it’s partnership with QBOT, an app that allows customers to register their purchases with a barcode to accumulate points for discounts.

“Honestly, it’s just not dependable. It’s a major hassle for our customers – getting it to download on your phone, getting it to work,” Briggs said.

He said QBOT is a great program Sodexo hoped to keep, but it wasn’t worth the amount of headaches it caused customers and cashiers.

Sodexo Operations Manager Rebecca Diamond said customers would often pull up their coupons while waiting to approach the register only to have their rewards disappear before they could be redeemed.

“It is causing our cashiers to be a technology expert at the register to try to help the customer figure it out, and if you’ve ever been in our lines, they just don’t have time,” Diamond said.

Briggs said when QBOT would fix one problem, five more would surface.

“We were one of the first pioneers to go with them so, we’ve worked with them a lot,” Briggs said. “We put a lot of faith in them that this would be perfect and unfortunately with technology nothing’s perfect.”

Briggs said Food Services is looking around to see if they can find a replacement.

Friday was the last day for students to redeem any remaining rewards.

Money problems

Sodexo recently changed the way it categorizes its meal plans.

The term “enrichment” is now called “bonus money,” in order to alleviate confusion around the meaning of the term.

Bonus money now refers to extra spending cash.

“The biggest thing (workers) hear from students is they’re confused over dining dollars, munch money and enrichment. What are they?” Diamond said.

The terms actually meant the same thing, Diamond said, so Sodexo merged them into one.

“We had munch money on one meal plan and dining dollars on the other three meal plans, and it was confusing people,” Briggs.

Dining dollars has been removed, so the only terms students will need to juggle are “munch money” and “bonus money.”

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