University of Houston–Clear Lake’s Pandemic Pivot

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, schools suddenly found themselves in a very tough position. With very few students and faculty remaining on campus, business at the university dropped by a sharp 80%.

However, thanks to Boost, Chartwells Dining at the University of Houston–Clear Lake were able to quickly adapt. With the use of technology as a core service model, the team could safely provide similar hours of operation. As a result, labor could be efficiently managed, and the on-campus community could still enjoy appropriate food service hours.

Boost and Chartwells logos

Tactics Used

The steps for keeping a campus well-fed:

  • Open up the dining hall (Patio Café) on Boost
  • Establish weekend open hours
  • Create ready-to-go meals
  • Implemented mobile-only ordering to remove lines and limit contact


There were several benefits that came from the introduction of Boost to campus:

  • Safety was increased by measures encouraging proper distancing
  • Anyone on campus with the app and a credit card could order, food from the dining hall was no longer limited to those with meal plans only
  • A large reduction in food waste thanks to pre-made meals
  • Satisfied customers who could enjoy hours that work with their schedules
  • Labor was able to be efficiently and sustainably managed

A 3% decrease in service hours resulted in a 71% decrease in labor cost; this was possible because of the efficiencies that came along with Boost mobile ordering—e.g., an organized flow of incoming orders.

When we moved to using Boost Mobile Ordering on campus, not only did it make the process of ordering and picking up food more convenient, it opened up conversation enabling us to partner with Chartwells to make the cafe more accessible and inclusive. I am thankful for this system and process in improving our campus dining experience.”

Jasara Scates | Student and Co-Chair of the University of Houston–Clear Lake Dining Committee

The Boost online ordering system allows our students the flexibility to order for a pickup time that is convenient for them. They no longer have to wait in line and be late to class or when returning from a short break. Boost is customizable to accommodate the campus food service needs and requests.”

Debra Carpenter | Executive Director of Procurement and Payables at the University of Houston–Clear Lake