Notre Dame Case Study


March 20, 2020

Commercial Kitchens & Bars

The University of Notre Dame is a storied institution of higher learning known just as much for its athletics as its academics. With a rich history dating back to 1842 and a football stadium built during the Roaring Twenties, when it came time to up the stadium’s hospitality game with luxury carts & kiosks, they turned to RSI to make it happen.

The Challenge: The Intersection of History, Luxury, & Hospitality.

When it comes to hospitality tech, service carts are not often viewed as a luxury item. These are functional workhorses designed to deliver food and refreshments to a large crowd in an active environment, like sporting events or concerts.

Notre Dame, however, wanted to rethink what foodservice carts could be. They wanted these pieces to fit seamlessly within the luxurious design of the new football stadium interiors while also paying homage to the historic architecture of the building’s facade. This level of design is highly out of the ordinary for cart design and manufacturing, but this wasn’t the only challenge.

The nuances of this project also involved timeline and workflow. All in, Notre Dame needed 144 carts built within an 8-week timeframe. More than that, this was a design-build project, which always involves additional client communication, more revision rounds, and greater attention to detail. 

Lastly, working with an institution like a large university presents its own challenges. This stadium project was being funded by donors and through the endowment, which greatly broadened the number of interested stakeholders in this process. Despite all of these potential hurdles, RSI was ready.

The Result: The Peak of Form & Function in Foodservice.

The key to this project going off without a hitch was project management. In addition to the various Notre Dame stakeholders, we also worked in collaboration with a New York City-based interior design firm. Together, we established clear design guidelines, including the proper Notre Dame shades of blue and gold, along with the particular brass and stonework we’d be using.

In terms of design, these carts were extremely unique. The countertops were stone, which was meticulously chosen to match the exterior of the stadium. The body of the carts was wood, another out of the ordinary feature, and they were painted so precisely with layers of Notre Dame-approved colors that the finish was almost mirror-like.

As we progressed through the design-build process, the typical revision rounds occurred. Driven by the Notre Dame advisory team, we went through a total of eleven revisions, some cosmetic and some functional, which extended through the manufacturing phase. In a project on a tight timeline, without proper project management, this would’ve created some real problems.

However, RSI forged ahead and ultimately delivered 144 carts on 14 tractor-trailers to the university ahead of our deadline. They then passed inspection and immediately went into use for the 2017 football season. The client was blown away and the RSI team still says they’re the best looking carts you’ll find at any football stadium in the world.

“The joy I felt came from seeing the pride on the faces of every craftsman at RSI and the satisfaction of the client.”

Steve Turknett, President & CEO

By The Numbers:

  • 144 Carts
  • 11 Revisions
  • 14 Truckloads
  • 8 Weeks
  • 1 Satisfied Client