Chelsea Speck holds the ABBY Award give to Sodexo/NSU catering in front of a balloon wall

Caption: Chelsea Speck accepted the ABBY Award for Customer Service – Service Award on behalf of Sodexo/NSU catering. 


ABERDEEN, S.D. – Sodexo won the ABBY Award for Customer Service – Service Award from the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce earlier this month. Sodexo was nominated by the community for the award.

“Sodexo/NSU Catering is always receiving positive feedback within the campus and local community,” said Marty Sabolo, Northern director of residence life and dining services. “We often hear from clients how happy they are with the menu selection, the attention to detail and the extra mile that Chelsea and her staff go to make the event a special event.”

It is the first time the business has won the award, said Chelsea Speck, Sodexo catering/retail manager. According to the Chamber of Commerce, the ABBY awards are designed to recognize businesses with outstanding performance, community customer satisfaction, and excellent business practices.

There are two customer service awards: one for service businesses and one for retail. Nominees for the service award are judged on performance, profitability, growth, and stability, by Chamber and economic development professionals from across the United States.

“I believe what really stands out about Sodexo is our commitment to our community and the individuals within,” said Speck. “We give opportunities to those who have never been given a chance.”

Sodexo also uses eco-friendly products, to reduce their carbon footprint.

The company was founded in 1966 and become Northern’s main food provider in May 2022, Speck said. In the Wolves Den, Sodexo serves three meals a day during the week, and two meals (brunch and dinner) on weekends.

“The largest challenge we have is being able to prepare menus that serve the variety of our students,” Sabolo said.

Sodexo solves that by offering a wide range of menus, most of which are designed around the geographic region and time of year.

“Sodexo really tries to stay on top of the latest trends in food and incorporate them in their menus,” Speck said.

This win comes on the tail of recent renovations to the Wolves Den and Thunder’s Lair. The million-dollar improvements included new serving stations, all new furniture and “a brighter atmosphere that is reminiscent of an urban restaurant,” said Sabolo.

The changes, including new dietary options, have been well received. The Wolves Den has seen an increase in use for all meals, Sabolo said. Part of the increased interest is due to the addition of a U-Cook station, which allows students to prepare their meals to their own liking.  

“Our new U-Cook station been such an exciting new offering” Sabolo said. “Students love fixing their eggs, their way in the morning. And for lunch and dinner they love being able to add what they want to their entrée. They choose what protein and how much they want. They choose the veggies they want, or don’t want. And they get to spice it up to their liking. The are loving it.”

Although serving the students is the company’s main goal, Sodexo also provides campus catering, concessions, and retail components across campus.

“Our campus organizations use Sodexo to cater special events and programs; our campus offices use them to bring community members to campus. By offering catering right on our campus, the University is able to attract many off-campus business and organization for special events on campus,” Sabolo said.

Sodexo isn’t confined to campus, either. Providing food for the campus isn’t that different from catering for other events, Speck said.

“No two events are really ever the same and the needs of every client are always different,” Speck said. “We will happily cater any event anywhere in town.”

“We are grateful for all that NSU Catering does for our campus and are so proud of them for the recognition they have received from the Aberdeen Community,” Sabolo said.