Sodexo Maps a Course to Increased Customer Satisfaction and F&B Sales at North Carolina Zoological Park

Taking a visitor’s journey through the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, Sodexo discovers opportunities to enhance the guest experience with new food and beverage offers
May 27, 2016 12:00 PM ET
Sodexo implements new food concepts at the North Carolina Zoological Park, including the Burger Shop and Prairie BBQ, feature original rubs and North Carolina style smoked barbeque.

GAITHERSBURG, Md.,  May 27, 2016 /3BL Media/ — Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life Services, implemented a consumer mapping strategy at the North Carolina Zoological Park that led to the development of winning food concepts at the largest walk-through, natural habitat zoo in the world. It began with a quest to discover how best to meet the needs of the more than 700,000 annual visitors at North Carolina Zoo. The result was an increase in customer satisfaction as well as a 20 percent increase in check averages.

Annually more than 700 million people of all ages and from all walks of life visit zoos and aquariums worldwide. To better understand the diverse needs of those visiting North Carolina Zoo, Sodexo undertook a consumer journey that began even before entering zoo grounds. It evaluated everything from the parking experience, to entering the park and mapping food availability in relation to exhibits, tram rides and each of the walking paths.

“Inspired by our goal to ensure all guests have a great experience at the North Carolina Zoo, analytics played a key role in determining product selection and placement,” explains Steve DiPrima, CEO, Sodexo Sports & Leisure North America. “According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, 94 percent of families see zoo visits as a valued opportunity for quality family time and engaged learning experiences for their children. As Sodexo deployed its technology solutions, we kept one fundamental goal at the forefront -- to continually enhance the guest experience.”

Foods that Pair Park Attractions with Expectations

By translating consumer-mapping data into imaginative strategies, Sodexo successfully adapted the food offer at North Carolina Zoo allowing visitors to get the most out of their park experience.

Among the initiatives that produced a higher quality guest experience and improved operational performance:

  • Designing updated kiosk that are conceptually aligned with park attractions
  • Replacing a diner offer with the “Burger Shop!” to deliver quality and speed of service
  • Redesigning menus at the “Crocodile” and “Junction” cafés to feature simple, fresh,  locally-sourced items
  • Introducing North Carolina style barbecue at the “Prairie BBQ”, that feature original rubs and a live smoker

A number of other improvements have added value for visitors and contributed to Sodexo’s success as well. They include additional renovations, optimized queuing systems to reduce wait time, new easy-to-read menu boards and enhanced customer service training that allows teams to better anticipate and proactively address guest needs.

Sodexo delivers more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life. The global Fortune 500 company is a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations.

Learn more about the company at its corporate blog, Sodexo Insights.