How to encourage more plant-based eating in your university, college or workplace.

08 Dec 2020


This guide provides you with clear steps on how to plan and launch your own Kale Yeah! loyalty scheme. It's based on what we learned from the pilot scheme we ran at Portsmouth University, which offered "buy 6 veggie or vegan meals, get a free meal".

We've included sub-headings to indicate when, during the planning and roll-out, you should execute each step.

Feel free to adapt it to suit your needs – as long as you keep the same ethos and characteristics of Kale Yeah!

Students being served in a university canteen istock

Step 1: start to plan

Before the launch

Make a plan using the steps in this guide. It's written primarily for academic institutions but if you want to set this up in your workplace, the steps will be similar.

If the scheme is being rolled out in an academic institution, it makes sense to use the start of a new term as your launch date. Otherwise use this guide to estimate the time it will take you to get everything in place.

Evaluate your existing culinary options. Is your veggie/vegan food tasty, and is there a good selection? If you think the menu needs a revamp before incentivising it, check out the Humane Society International's chef training courses  for delicious plant-based cooking.

Give yourself enough time to establish a baseline for current sales of vegetarian/ vegan meals vs meat. Set up the tills in the term/month before launch, so you can measure the difference in sales once the scheme is in place. 

Step 2: spread the word

Before the launch

Build support early on. Tell key staff and students, such as the catering team, IT staff (who will need to help programme the tills), the Student Union (SU), university communications staff, and any relevant student clubs or societies.

Draft a marketing plan. The plan should feature a launch press release, on and off-line content (for example, for the student newspaper) and social media activity.

Identify someone, either a student or SU officer, who is enthusiastic and could recruit student ambassadors. They can help with promotion of the scheme once it launches.

Keep in touch with these people as you progress your plans so they can help and input their ideas.  

Step 3: decide how the scheme will work (with others)

Before the launch

What’s your offer? At Portsmouth University the deal was buy 6 veggie or vegan meals or sandwiches and get 1 meal free. The reward meal could be a meat or fish dish because we wanted to attract meat eaters. You may wish to adapt this for your circumstances.

Decide what you want to monitor to measure the impact of the scheme, and make sure the data can be regularly accessed.

How will students participate?

In Portsmouth, students and staff had an existing electronic loyalty card so it was possible to add the scheme onto this and programme the tills accordingly. Do you have something similar or do you need a to check out an app like Magic Stamp, or a paper card and stamp system?

Step 4: sort the tech

The term before launch (or the holiday before the start of term)

Work with your IT team to programme the tills in advance and plan time for testing and ironing out glitches.

Brief and train canteen staff so they are ready to log the participating meals from the launch date. 

Counter staff testing till Friends of the Earth

Step 5: order your resources

Two months before launch

We have designed exclusive Kale Yeah! resources to boost the visibility of the scheme, including poster, T-shirt and sticker templates, and background information

Decide on the quantities of Kale Yeah! resources you will need. Leave enough time for them to be printed and delivered for your launch.

Step 6: brief staff and finalise promotion

Two weeks before launch

Brief your catering team and make sure they're familiar with the scheme, why you're running it and how it works. Adapt and hand out a briefing.

Frontline staff (such as catering staff) are key to the success of the scheme. Encourage them to talk to the students about the scheme whilst they're ordering their food ("I see you’ve bought the vegetarian lasagne – did you know with the Kale Yeah! scheme if you buy another 5 veggie or vegan dishes you can get a free meal?").

Finalise your promotion plans. Have you sent out the launch press release? Are social media posts ready to go?

Plan time to distribute promotional materials. Student ambassadors can help put up posters if they're around, or build in time for catering staff to do this in their cafés. At Portsmouth they added stickers to the veggie and vegan sandwiches to show which were part of the deal.

Sandwiches with Kale Yeah stickers

Step 7: final preparations

The day before launch

It's time for a final staff briefing. Hand out T-shirts, put up posters around the cafés, near the point of sale, and elsewhere around the university site – such as kitchens and in halls of residence. Ask students/ ambassadors to help. Ensure the tills are programmed to go live on the launch day.

Step 8: launch the scheme

Encourage student ambassadors to mingle and talk to people about Kale Yeah!.

Take some photos to use in social media posts, the university website and newsletters. And send them to us, we'd love to see how it's going.

Kale Yeah! launch staff with student ambassadors


Step 9: monitoring and feedback


Encourage student ambassadors to chat to people in the cafés, see what people think of the scheme and address any queries.

You may wish to do a survey after a term to assess levels of awareness. Adapt our suggested survey questions and ask the Student Union to help send them out to students. Use a system like Typeform or SurveyMonkey – or your university may have its own. Think about incentivising responses with a prize.

Check on your data. Whether you decided to monitor updates weekly, monthly or by term, check in with the data and report back to key people who are interested.

Think about another publicity push around a key milestone. For example a story for the students newsletter or the local media once, say, 500 free meals have been given out.

You can also use external events to promote Kale Yeah!, such as Veganuary (January), British Sandwich Week (May), Vegetarian week (May), and World Food Day (16 October).

Run refresher briefings for the catering staff. Ask them to share their tips for encouraging take-up of the scheme and even run a competition between café outlets to recognise who has sold the most veggie and vegan meals.

Step 10: tell us about it

Friends of the Earth would love to know how it’s going, so please send us your key stats, photos and any other feedback.

And encourage colleagues in other Universities to adopt Kale Yeah!. Promote it internally and externally, and pat yourselves on the back for being part of something great.

Kale Yeah!