Sodexo Education has launched The Social, a new retail offer for secondary schools. Using the brand proposition, ‘Best in Class’, the new offer mirrors high street trends and is designed to help school caterers increase take-up and drive sales.

The Social is the result of twelve months of research with students. Sodexo has worked with three schools to trial the new concept over the last few months. The team aim to introduce the brand to all of its 50 secondary schools across the UK through-out the course of 2015.

Rachael Cook, account director for Sodexo’s commercial education team, explains the approach; “Getting the presentation of food in schools right is really important. Students want to see well-stocked and well-styled counters, offering food choices which mirror the selection they would see out on the high street. Through The Social we have created a really strong style guide for catering managers. This gives practical tips on how food should be presented, for example incorporating lots of wooden boards, white china and lots of colourful displays with fresh produce.

In terms of the actual food on offer, our menus are very much governed by the nutritional guidance set out in the School Food Plan. We have, however, developed lots of healthy ‘grab and go’ options, such as roast dinner wraps and fruit pots, which are proving really popular with students.”

One of the first schools to try out the new concept, Oasis Academy in Coulsden has seen a 10% uplift in transactions since The Social was introduced, with excellent feedback from the students about their new-look restaurant.

Cook continues; “We’re excited about the potential of The Social. It delivers on what students are looking for and provides great guidance for our catering teams on site. Results from the Oasis Academy are very encouraging and we’re confident we can help drive sales across all our schools.

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