Who We Are

Great Food at Leeds

is the name for catering services at the University of Leeds

Providing customers with quality fresh food at competitive prices is at the heart of what we strive to achieve through the facilities and services we offer across campus.
For more information read our Customer Promise.

Whether you are looking for a freshly made sandwich to take away or to sit down for a hot meal, our 17 cafes and award-winning Refectory are there to meet your needs.

Unrivalled catering services

For events and hospitality, our expertise and passion is second to none for delivered food and fine dining functions.

Our team care about the food we provide. Our products are carefully selected and we use locally sourced, seasonal and Fairtrade wherever possible. To find out more about the extensive work we do please visit our sustainability and food suppliers pages.

Keep it on Campus

Great Food at Leeds is a University service and any profits that are made are invested back into further improving the service and contribute towards the wider University of Leeds. By using us, you’ll help to keep your money on campus!

We’re always looking for feedback to help us further meet your needs. Please send any comments regarding catering services to greatfood@leeds.ac.uk or use our contact us page.

Customer Service Excellence 2019- 2020

GFAL is part of the University of Leeds, Commercial and Campus Support Services (CCSS), and has achieved Customer Service Excellence ®, a government standard that recognises an organisation’s commitment to putting customers first.

The Customer Service Excellence ® standard challenges organisations to examine their service in relation to 57 criteria that have been shown to influence customer satisfaction.

CCSS achieved a significantly positive result, receiving ‘Compliance plus’ for eight standard criteria, the most criteria that any first time participating organisation, for this accreditation, has ever received.

GFAL cooking demonstration

Cooking demonstrations


Customer identification

Great Food at Leeds wanted to increase interaction with students, particularly international students, to offer an insight into the University’s culinary culture and to showcase our chefs and the food offer on campus.

Our Head of Food Development and his team consulted with the International Office and the Language Centre to understand how they could work in collaboration to deliver a culinary experience.

The result was a series of cooking demonstrations, which were devised through feedback from students and the International Office as a great way of capturing the imagination of students, helping them to feel comfortable in their new surroundings and potentially meet new friends.

The Head of Food Development created appropriate menus and planned live cooking demonstrations during intake week to bring the menus to life. The demonstrations proved so popular they have become became a regular event throughout the academic year at the request of the International Office.

The customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with students reporting that the demonstrations have made them feel welcome and that they are important to the University.  They have given students confidence to purchase our food offers around campus and the wider community.

As a Service we are thrilled with these outcomes and feel that these innovative events clearly support our Key Performance Indicator of driving sales whilst exceeding customer expectations.

The Refectory before it was refurbished

Refectory opening times


Customer satisfaction

An annual customer questionnaire carried out by James Curtis Associates for Great Food at Leeds identified several key areas to address for service and product improvement, largely around the current opening hours for our Meal Plan (catered) students and the variety of food choices.

The Refectory Team came together with the Great Food at Leeds Team and used the survey results to initiate a creative thinking session. As a result focus groups were organised to provide more detailed feedback around specific issues.

An action plan was developed which captured all the key areas and the necessary changes were implemented over a given period, giving students the opportunity to observe the improvements being made over the course of their academic year.

In line with the action plan, the opening times in the Refectory were extended, everyday of the week by 30 minutes. This allowed students additional time to eat their evening meal following lectures and sporting commitments. The Refectory menu cycle was developed further, and new food offers introduced including a Tossed Salad Bar, a Green & Go Counter and a Street Food offer, to increase variety and prevent menu fatigue.

These changes have helped to increase sales whilst enhancing the customer experience and ensuring our offer remains relevant and on trend. Subsequent surveys clearly demonstrate an improvement in scoring and satisfaction for the Refectory, with less negative verbatim comments around variety and choice.

Customer Testimonial
“Extremely satisfied with the opening and closing times of the Refectory”.




Customer satisfaction

Café LOMA has proved a huge hit on campus, with consistently high scores on mystery shopper reports and team members nominated for Spotlight Awards for their care and attention to detail.

The LOMA (LOcally MAde) in-house café brand was created by Great Food at Leeds to offer a point of difference and choice to customers. A focus on healthy, field-to-fork options within a welcoming atmosphere stands LOMA apart from the other food outlets on campus.

The café provides convenience food without compromising on quality, serving up super-food fuelled smoothies, fresh herbal infusion teas, unique salad and sandwich combinations and a special deli salad, alongside other delicious LOMA products made fresh each day.

LOMA also offers a unique coffee blend specially commissioned by craft roasters, Dark Woods, and delicious baked goods courtesy of Caroline’s Cakes in Chapel Allerton for customers to indulge themselves.

The café space is designed with style and function in mind and provides customers with a sociable and relaxed environment to meet. Although Café LOMA has established a loyal following, this is truly a space which attracts a wide variety of customers – students, staff and visitors, all are welcome!

LOMA embodies the values of Great Food at Leeds:

– Responsible/ethical

– Quality offer

– Care/caring

– Relationship/community

– Value.

By delivering these values through Café LOMO, Great Food at Leeds has succeeded in offering a unique proposition which gives customers choice and variety, whilst also responding to current trends in the marketplace.

Customer Testimonials

“The team at LOMA do an outstanding job! always polite and helpful. I receive brilliant customer service on every visit. Even during busier periods, they are always as lovely as ever!”

“I love the attention to detail at LOMA. I know my breakfast will be as I like it. The chilli flakes on my avo toast are always just right!”

“The LOMA team are a credit and I can’t speak highly enough. Very hard working and approachable. Nothing is too much and everything is done with a smile.”

Fuse cafe

Refresh Catering Offer


Quality of information

Refresh is a combined cashless and loyalty scheme which incorporates the meal plan card for catered students.

The Refresh Card aims to encourage loyalty through convenience and discounts, increase the sales volume through customer loyalty, and increase the spend per head through improved targeted marketing communications.

The unique selling points of the Refresh Card are convenience, you don’t need to carry cash and can top up online. The scheme offers discounts on some products and the ability to manage your budgets by keeping track of your account online.

The Refresh scheme was originally created in 2007/8 when the University Catering team at the time identified a need to create a more user friendly and innovative way of allowing students to purchase meals, moving away from vouchers and manual systems.

By exploring the options available, the team discovered an electronic option which allowed different ‘purses’ on the same card. This meant that it could facilitate the catered meal plan, a pre-loaded purse, hospitality for staff members and a loyalty points scheme.

When initially launched, Refresh events were held at various cafés to engage with customers directly, explain the benefits of the scheme and create cards for people on the spot.

Since then, Great Food at Leeds (GFaL) has undertaken work to study the customer journey and discover how the offer can be improved to further enhance customer experience. A management group meets monthly to ensure the offer remains current and is developing in line with customer feedback.

One of the major areas of feedback relates to the clarity of the Refresh Card offer. In response, the team has worked to ensure that offers are clear with monthly promotions designed to add interest and emphasise point of difference.

The 2018 Fresher’s Week saw the launch of a new phone app, with student ambassadors encouraging their peer group to download the app and get a great tasting street food dish in return! However, the physical card has been retained alongside the phone app, despite higher costs, as GFaL recognises that a large percentage of customers prefer to use a card version.

The Refresh Card has over 14,000 active users who can use the app or card in all 16 GFaL outlets across campus. Payment can be made via auto-top up or by linking to a debit card for each use. Friends and family can also link to accounts to top-up a user’s balance.

A new feature is planned for launch in 2019, whereby students can purchase credits prior to joining the University in their first year, ensuring early buy-in and customer loyalty.

Staff Festival 2013: Copyright Paul M Baxter / Baxter Photography

Staff festival


Co-operative working with other providers, partners and communities

The University of Leeds annual Staff Festival has been run successfully for the past 11 years and is now a highlight of campus life.

The Festival raises money each year for a different official charity and helps support the University’s cultural and community values.

This important event relies heavily on the commitment and input of many of the CCSS teams. MEETinLEEDS and Great Food at Leeds put in a huge amount of work, from providing physical facilities and logistical support, to supplying high quality food and beverages. Staff members from these Services are also active members of the organising committee.

Suppliers are evaluated in advance to ensure that they meet the University’s Health and Safety and Food Safety requirements, in line with ‘due diligence’. The event attracts customers with a range of age, gender, accessibility and dietary differences which need to be reflected.

The theme for the 2018 Staff Festival was “A Festival of Making”. To keep the catering offer fresh and relevant, Great Food at Leeds introduced a ‘Gin Bar’ served from HUGO, and a purpose built ‘Street Hut’ serving street food. In addition, the Refectory remained open to offer customers more choice. The team also supported the event by running a cake competition and encouraging suppliers to donate supplies, for example, coconuts for the coconut shy.

The 2018 Staff Festival raised £2,888 for the Pets as Therapy charity. Around 4,000 staff, family members and visitors attended the event and the organising committee received very positive feedback.

Given the demand for this event and its popularity, the 2019 Staff Festival is already confirmed to take place on 28 June 2019.

Vegan mushroom cheese cups

University House revitalises our vegetarian offer


Deal effectively with problems

Customer feedback suggested that our vegetarian menu was suffering from menu fatigue.

Our Executive Chef responded by carrying out research on current market trends in this area and then bringing together the management team and the Front of House Manager to review our selection of vegetarian dishes.

A new and improved vegetarian menu was introduced to enhance our offering by giving customers using our facilities a greater choice of vegetarian dishes.

We are delighted that customers are voting in favour of this change as the number of customers choosing the vegetarian selection has increased.



Cooking Up a Recipe for Successful University Delivered Catering

The Delivered Catering business at the University of Leeds was relaunched in November 2013.

Building on the success of the Catering Service’s new brand, Great Food at Leeds, the whole marketing mix of product offer, menus, pricing, promotion, customer service and customer journey process was completely revised with the aim of achieving an additional £200K revenue in the first year.

The new brand, Deli(very), was developed to create a visible sense of change and present a coherent offer across all elements of the customer journey. The brand was built around the key unique selling points (USPs) of quality and freshness. All food is prepared on site everyday by our skilled chefs using only the finest local and seasonal ingredients to maintain quality, meaning the freshest food possible.

Meetings with key operational staff ensured the core brand values and USPs were brought to life through every business decision, ranging from the menu to food presentation.

A huge ‘business to customer’ awareness campaign was rolled out across campus during the launch phase. Adverts were taken out in internal University-wide publications, interviews profiling the chefs and specialist team were featured on the staff intranet and campaign adverts were integrated with the wider University “Keep it on Campus” campaign.

To give the brand a professional edge, the visuals were rolled out across all disposables, greatly improving food presentation. Menu design, uniforms, delivery vans and trollies also carried the brand which helped create a connection between the staff, the customer service and the products, whilst also significantly raising brand awareness and profile across the University.

In 2017/18 Deli(very) achieved a turnover of £2m, which demonstrates how successful the re-brand has been. However, the team is not resting on its laurels – and is working hard to engage with customers on a regular basis using focus groups and tasting sessions to meet customer expectations for continued growth and improvement. For example, the University has made a promise to stop using all single use plastics by 2020. Deli(very) is now striving to lead the way on sustainable packaging. Where possible, the business always uses recycled, recyclable and compostable packaging to minimise impact and has recently been recognised by the industry and awarded the Green Tourism Award.

The business caters for a culturally diverse population with a range of stakeholders (staff, students and external guests) from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. The team always offers vegetarian options, and regularly meets vegan, gluten free, dairy free, halal and kosher requirements. The Deli(very) website allows customers to browse the full choice of menus before ordering. The admin team liaises with the customer and helps organise and book suitable catering. On the day of the event, the kitchen team prepares the food ready for the Deli(very) service team to travel across campus and deliver as required.

Customer Testimonials

“I ordered the new Vegan Feast for a recent event. The food was lovely, and the external visitors commented that it was great to have colourful food.”
-Sarah Humphreys
Co-ordinator, Legal Advice Clinic, School of Law

“Massive thanks for going the extra mile to ensure that our event was a success, specifically for the catering teams help in guiding us on the right food and drink choices that everyone found delicious and suited the event perfectly.”
-Peter Webster
Brotherton Library