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

13 Dec 2022

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

Feel free to adapt the loyalty scheme offer to suit your needs.

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.

Evaluate your existing menu. Is your veggie/vegan food tasty, and is there a good selection? If your menu needs a revamp before incentivising it, check out our caterers' toolkit and rebalanced menu guide for ideas and tips. Humane Society International also run some excellent chef training courses in delicious plant-based cooking.

Establish a baseline. Give yourself enough time to establish a baseline for current sales of vegetarian and vegan meals vs. meat meals. Ideally this would include volume data as well as sales. Set up your tills well before the launch so that you can measure the difference in sales and the impact of the scheme once it’s 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'll 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, online and offline content (for example, for the student newspaper) and social media activity.

Identify someone, either a student or SU officer, who's 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.  

Check out our promotional resources to help you spread the word.

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

Before the launch

What’s your offer? At Portsmouth University, the deal was to buy 6 veggie or vegan meals or sandwiches and get 1 meal free. The reward meal could be a meat or fish dish because they 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 to check out an app like Magic Stamp or a paper card and stamp system?

A row of packaged Kale Yeah! sandwiches
Kale Yeah! sandwiches © Credit: Friends of the Earth

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're ready to log the participating meals from the launch date. 

Step 5: order your resources

Two months before launch

We’ve designed exclusive Kale Yeah! resources to boost the visibility of the scheme, including customisable posters, t-shirt and sticker templates, and digital images for promotion.

We have a limited number of generic Kale Yeah! posters, tent cards, window stickers and small stickers available to send to participating institutions – please get in touch if you’d like to order some. 

If you’d like a poster to promote your specific loyalty deal, a customisable template is available. 

Decide on the quantities of Kale Yeah! resources you’ll 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.

Frontline staff are key to the success of the scheme. Encourage them to mention the scheme to customers while they're ordering food.

Finalise your promotion plans. Have you sent out the launch press release? Are social media posts ready to go? Check out our digital images to use for promotion. 

Plan time to distribute promotional materials. Student ambassadors can help put up posters, 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 ones were part of the deal.

Step 7: final preparations

The day before launch

It's time for a final staff briefing. Hand out t-shirts and 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 student 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, on the university website and in newsletters. And please send them to us, as we'd love to see how it's going.

A group photo in the canteen of staff and student ambassadors, some wearing Kale Yeah! t-shirts
Kale Yeah! launch staff with student ambassadors © Credit: Friends of the Earth

Step 9: monitoring and feedback


Check out our ideas for monitoring how your scheme is going. 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 Typeform or SurveyMonkey – or your university may have its own system. 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.

Find out what your customers think of the scheme. You could ask student ambassadors to chat to people in the cafés, find out about levels of awareness, gather feedback and address any queries.

Promote the scheme. Perhaps plan another publicity push around a key milestone – for example, a story for the student 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. You could even run a competition between café outlets to recognise who’s 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!