As part of ongoing efforts to increase food quality and improve student satisfaction, University leadership decided to evaluate dining services providers. In November 2019, a Request for Proposals was issued to seven vendors. Incumbent vendor Aramark and six others participated in the bidding process, a standard practice for colleges and universities.
A selection committee made up of faculty, staff and student representatives evaluated each provider based on their food presentation, student dining menus, nutrition and dietary needs, catering menus, sustainability measures, local food procurement, marketing, campus/community partnership, business model, and experience. The selection committee also received feedback from off-campus students, international students, athletes and students with dietary restrictions.
After a thorough review, the committee announced in March that Chartwells, a division of Compass, is the University’s new dining services vendor beginning May 26. Chartwells will continue to operate Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Starbucks and Einsteins in the student center. Java City will be replaced by a new coffee provider, and a student choice option will take the place of Taco Bell, beginning with a Chartwells branded concept — Tu Taco. Tu Taco brings street tacos indoors, focusing on quality ingredients and made from scratch sauces. Each year, students will vote on one of eight restaurant concepts for the following year. “We are grateful to Aramark for being an excellent dining partner for so many years,” said Tammy Hall, vice president for finance and CFO. “Strong professional and friendship bonds have been forged with so many on this team, and we appreciate their willingness to work with us for a smooth transition.”
As the move to a new provider takes place, additional changes to the University’s campus dining will continue in an effort to improve food quality and choice. These changes include the incorporation of clearly marked allergen friendly food lines, open to close access to the dining hall, four-week menu cycles and technology solutions to manage food lines and peak periods.