America To Go Supports Supplier Diversity at the University of Virginia

ATG has been extremely receptive to working with UVA on new initiatives & innovative strategies for our supplier diversity program. This is definitely one of my favorite contracts to manage from a procurement perspective.”
Kristin Floyd,
Senior Buyer, Procurement & Supplier Diversity Services,
The University of Virginia

The Need – Supplier Diversity

The University of Virginia (UVA) is committed to supplier diversity and is continuously developing sustainable relationships with qualified, reliable, Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned businesses (SWaM). UVA set a voluntary goal of doing 5% more business with SWaM firms each year, and was looking for a supplier in the catering area that could support that goal. In addition, UVA was looking for a partner that could facilitate its PO/invoicing/payment process for its catering through JAGGAER.

The Solution – ATG

UVA contracted with America to Go (ATG) in April 2014. ATG is an online food ordering and expense management company that provides customizable electronic marketplaces for clients to connect with a broad network of local restaurants and caterers.

At UVA, ATG maintains a fully functional punch-out available through JAGGAER, supported by 24-hour customer service. Working with ATG, UVA has achieved SWaM utilization levels as high as 74%. There are currently over 85 caterers registered on the platform.

Other ATG Benefits

Streamlined Process & Efficiencies
ATG processes all food orders placed with outside vendors, leading to improved operational efficiencies, since everything is within the system and automated.

Controlled Tips & Service Fees
ATG applies the university’s standard tipping policy to all orders, ensuring there are no over-payments.

Increased Spend Visibility
ATG provides customized reports on all relevant food ordering activity.

Increased Compliance
ATG helps achieve entertainment policy compliance by maintaining a repository of all caterer/restaurant required documentation, including the monitoring of insurance requirements.

Vendor Management
ATG handles outreach to all suppliers, managing these relationships with regard to menus, training, compliance, tastings, and campus initiatives.

Sustainability Initiatives
ATG provides a valuable vehicle to extend campus sustainability initiatives to off-campus vendors.

Customized Solution
ATG customizes its solution to meet the needs of all campus and vendor stakeholders, including accounting approval, and technical requirements.

Customer Service/Dedicated Account Manager
ATG provides 24/7 customer service support for customers and vendors. In addition, ATG provides a dedicated Account Manager serving as point person with procurement, A/P, sustainability, users, vendors, and other major stakeholders.

E-Procurement Integration
ATG integrates with e-procurements systems, allowing members to utilize existing workflows for routing, approvals, invoicing, payment, accounting, and reporting.

“ATG helped our SWaM caterers develop an e-commerce presence without significant investment. They streamlined the P2P process & helped us maintain standards for safety & risk across the category, while effectively supporting the University’s diversity procurement goals.”
John McHugh, Director, Strategic Sourcing & Accounts Payable, University of Virginia

ATG understands the growing importance of diversity in procurement and has worked closely with various institutions to create initiatives that make it easy for staff to find, access, and order from diverse restaurants and caterers in their local community, and to track diversity spending through customized and detailed reporting

The Details

The SWaM certification program is a state program of the Commonwealth of Virginia that focuses on increasing procurement opportunities for SWaM businesses participating in state-funded projects. As part of the program, vendors must be certified through the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD).

“Increasing our SWaM spend is a critical goal for us,” said Kristin Floyd, Senior Buyer at UVA. “While many caterers at UVA qualify for SWaM status, they lack the resources to apply and stay certified with SBSD. On top of that, we had a difficult time promoting SWaM vendors to users and tracking SWaM spending. ATG has provided invaluable assistance in facilitating SBSD certification and providing effective vendor outreach.”

The four key components of ATG’s work with UVA are:

    1. Vendor Outreach & Support – After UVA shared its SWaM standards, ATG surveyed all vendors to identify which were certified and assisted those eligible with certification. ATG gathered all proper documentation and continues to monitor each vendor’s SWaM status as recertification is necessary. Without this relationship, it is likely many of the eligible SWaM caterers would not be certified.
    2. Platform Updates/UVA Platform Customizations – ATG worked closely with UVA to highlight SWaM vendors on the ATG platform with the following customization:
      • Rolling ticker on the landing page with the SWaM vendors’ logos encourages users to place their next order with a certified caterer
      • SWaM highlight ‘tile’ provides information about UVA’s SWaM commitment
      • SWaM filter allows users to sort the vendor listing
      • ‘Thank you’ language on the order text reinforces the initiative with both users and vendors


    3. Campus Outreach – ATG and UVA hosted a number of tasting events with SWaM certified vendors. These events provided users with a comfortable environment to meet the owners and sample offerings to consider for their next event. “We partnered the tasting events with our University training program referred to as ‘Brown Bags,’ Kristin explained. “This helped incentivize people to sign up for the training classes and promoted the SWaM caterers that might not have been sampled otherwise.”
    4. Reporting – ATG provides UVA with quarterly customized reports in a format that can be integrated into UVA’s state SWaM reporting. According to Kristin, “using the metrics we defined, ATG’s reporting has helped us track the initiative’s progress, make modifications, and steadily enhance the program over time.”

The Takeaway

The catering commodity offers one of the largest opportunities for universities to support small and diverse local businesses, but it can be very difficult for a university to do this on its own. UVA needed a partner to manage, mobilize, and maintain support for these businesses. ATG provided a comprehensive solution to support every stage of UVA’s supplier diversity initiative, from vendor outreach and support, to platform enhancements, campus outreach, and customized reporting.

“ATG helped our SWaM caterers develop an e-commerce presence without significant investment,” said John McHugh, Director of Strategic Sourcing and Accounts Payable at the University of Virginia. “They streamlined the P2P process and helped us maintain standards for safety and risk across the category, while effectively supporting the University’s diversity procurement goals.”

To learn more about how ATG can help you better manage your catering expenses online and support your institution’s supplier diversity initiatives, please contact Paul Harris, Business Development Manager, Athletics, Culinary & Travel, at

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About America To Go

America To Go is an online food ordering and expense management solution that streamlines all of an institution’s restaurants and caterers into one customized platform. This E&I contract helps institutions lower transaction costs through automated billing and payment, automate and enforce catering ordering policies and can easily integrate with any e-procurement system.

Food Services Supplier Diversity