Walnut Hill School for the Arts
Peter Walker, General Manager of Sodexo Dining Services at Walnut Hill
Natick, MA / 380 employees / Education
From the moment it was installed, the Bevi machine has been a hit with students.
Located just outside Boston, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, is an independent boarding and day high school offering “purposefully-designed educational experiences for student artists.” Peter, the General Manager of the Sodexo Dining Services at Walnut Hill, genuinely cares about the students, whom he refers to as “incredibly talented, wonderful humans.” He describes the school as “Glee in real life” where “everyone on campus is truly and incredibly happy.”
As a the food service director, Peter’s main priority is to ensure that all dining services operations at the school run smoothly and that the entire food service staff is working to keep the students and faculty healthy and happy. Nevertheless, Peter runs into the same issues as any food service department: “it’s virtually impossible to satisfy everyone,” he explains.
A private, residential school, Walnut Hill has a variety of amenities for students. While public schools are incentivized and in some cases, required to offer healthy food and beverage options, private schools are not subject to these regulations. As a result, Walnut Hill’s dining hall has had a soda machine since Peter started. For many months, Peter has been trying to get rid of this machine due to the slow service and the unhealthy ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, found in the beverages.
He couldn’t, however, remove the soda machine until he provided the school with an enticing alternative with healthier drink options than the soda machine. He found the perfect replacement, unexpectedly, while watching one of his favorite TV shows, HBO’s Silicon Valley. After doing a bit of research, Peter realized that Bevi was exactly what he had been looking for: a high-tech water dispenser with healthier drink options that would satisfy the needs and tastes of the entire campus.
It soon became clear on campus that Bevi was more than just the standard refill station found in most K-12 schools. Bevi gave students and staff a variety of healthy drink options that they could customize to their liking by choosing between still, sparkling, and flavored water. Quite simply, “People love it,” a student explained.
From the moment it was installed, the Bevi machine has been a hit with students. On the first day, there was a line of 300 people that spilled way beyond the dining hall doors to use the machine. According to Bevi’s usage tracking data, the water dispenser served over 2,000 healthy drinks on the first day alone.
Many students already loved drinking seltzer water and were pleased that their school now offered sparkling water on demand with Bevi. One student commented on how easy the machine was to use and how great it was to customize the flavor intensity of their beverage. Another student said he loved that Bevi was providing healthier drink options: “I like that the flavors are not sugary, because I tend to avoid sugary drinks.”
Students aren’t the only ones pleased with the newest addition to the dining hall. The members of the food service team are also fans because they can now stay hydrated without wasteful, single-use plastic bottles. The Bevi smart water dispenser has also encouraged the staff and students to use more reusable bottles.
Although it’s hard to please everyone when it comes to running a dining hall, Peter is confident that the Bevi accommodates everyone’s needs. Students and staff are so thrilled with the machine, and it has already become an indispensable perk in their school dining hall.
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