Fly By, Flyer Enterprises’ newest division, accepts Flyer Express and other student meal plans. Photo courtesy of Maddy Bartsche, A&E editor.
Katherine Barry | Contributing Writer
As exhausted students pile into Heritage Coffeehouse, the aroma of fresh coffee and baked goods fills the air. The morning sun hits the warm pastries, revealing their glaze. Baristas take customers’ orders and fill their cups. Students grab their morning pick-me-up and head to class at the University of Dayton. It’s the place for Flyers to sip and stay awhile.
Heritage Coffeehouse has been a favorite of students and staff since its opening in 2017. It is a division of Flyer Enterprises, one of the largest student-run corporations in the world. Working for the corporation gives students an experiential learning opportunity. The divisions allow students to hold positions such as chief executive officer, chief financial officer and chief operating officer. FE operates 10 divisions that range from coffee and bagels to merchandise.
As of fall 2021, Flyer Enterprises divisions now accept Flyer Express, one of the meal plan options for first-year students. This contract between Flyer Enterprises and dining services has benefited students, staff, Flyer Enterprises and dining services.
FE and dining services have been in collaboration for years, as they both have a strong presence on campus. Fly By — formerly The Galley — Stuart’s Landing and The CHILL have had a joint venture agreement with dining services for years. The other half of the divisions are coined as independent of dining services, but still worked in close collaboration.
“With COVID-19, we had more time to take a step back and look at the contract we had, and both parties agreed that we needed more collaboration,” CEO of Flyer Enterprises Carolyn Haney said.
With this realization, Flyer Enterprises and dining services came up with a plan that allowed all physical divisions to accept meal plans and credit. The contract has been mutually beneficial, Flyer Enterprises said. It has increased the sales at Flyer Enterprises divisions and allowed for Flyer Enterprises workers to market some dining services events, Haney said.
“We have a lot of students following our social media page that might not follow dining services, so it’s almost an extra way for them to get their word out,” Haney said.
Flyer Enterprises’ sales have exceeded expectations this year due to the new contract.
“Some of our divisions are up more than 100% and we are only two months into the year,” said Jack Crackel, CFO of Flyer Enterprises.
The contract is being utilized by both students and staff, with around 70% of Flyer Enterprise sales coming from meal plan payments.
This has been a great step forward for Flyer Enterprises, but many divisions are struggling with keeping enough product in the store to keep up with their growing customer base, Flyer Enterprises said.
Dining services also faces the issue of increased student traffic while battling staff shortages due to COVID-19, explained Joan Bauman, executive director of dining services.
“Our partnership is stronger than ever before, and we are looking forward to the continuation of this relationship,” Crackel said, despite these bumps in the road.
To increase revenue and efficiency, Flyer Enterprises launched its own web app. The platform has loyalty programs for each division, providing incentives for customers to keep coming through the door. The app has hundreds of student users, according to Flyer Enterprises.
“It’s really working well for both parties, because Flyer Enterprises have gotten a lot more sales, and we get some of that revenue back,” Bauman said.
As the contract between Flyer Enterprises and dining services evolves, Flyer Enterprises continues to spread its influence across campus. The growth of the divisions will provide more revenue for dining services to implement additional resources such as ensuring that the food at the UD is safe and well prepared.