Enventure Research was appointed by Manchester City Council to undertake research with current and past clients, school pupils and parents of pupils who use Manchester Fayre, an income-generating service for the Council which provides primary and secondary schools with their school meals provision. Manchester Fayre aims to provide a balanced and nutritious school meal to children. The service is well-established and regarded in high esteem by other councils and public services. It is supported by the Manchester City Council Communications team.
Despite the service performing well financially and benefiting from the introduction of free school meals, the market place for school meals had been experiencing change, with a number of private companies offering school meals provision and some schools choosing to move the school meals service in-house.
Two surveys were developed in partnership between Enventure Research and Manchester City Council to explore attitudes towards Manchester Fayre in a number of different areas, including cost, nutrition, menu variety, relationships with area managers, the overall level of service provided by Manchester Fayre, reasons for choosing either to use or not to use Manchester Fayre for school meals and opinions of the Manchester Fayre website. One survey was tailored to schools (including those who currently used Manchester Fayre and those that no longer used Manchester Fayre) and the second was targeted at parents of children enrolled in Manchester schools.
The survey was hosted online and email invitations including a unique link to participate were sent to schools within the Manchester district, including current and past clients of Manchester Fayre. Schools were also asked to promote the survey to pupils’ parents via their usual communication channels, such as newsletters, online news stories, emails and social media.
Results and Benefits to the Client
In total, representatives from 36 schools took place in the school survey, whilst 100 parents participated in the parent survey.
A programme of qualitative research was also undertaken to supplement the findings from the online survey. A series of mini focus groups was held with primary and secondary school children and parents, and a number of in depth telephone interviews were held with those responsible for overseeing school meals provision.
The research findings will help Manchester Fayre to identify potential service improvements and the benefits of rebranding and refreshing the image of how the business positions itself with schools.