ARAMARK wins new food services contract
Friday, February 26th, 2010
Lawrence Technological University has awarded a 10-year contract to ARAMARK to operate Café Lawrence and provide food services on campus.
ARAMARK will take over on July 1 when the previous 10-year contract with Taher Inc. expires. Taher and Sodexho also submitted proposals for the new contract.
According to Dean of Students Kevin Finn, the new contract will bring major changes in food options, including:
“We are very excited about the changes that are coming,” Finn said. “This is a move toward a more traditional college meal service, and the prices will be coming down for meal plans.”
ARAMARK is a major supplier to college campuses, and operates the food services at Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and the University of Toledo.
“We are excited to embark on this change with Lawrence Tech as we will work closely with students, faculty and staff to ensure the food service needs of your campus are being met,” said Paul Kramer of ARAMARK’s food services at Saginaw Valley State University, who will be overseeing the operation at Lawrence Tech.
The centerpiece of the new food service plan will be ARAMARK’s Real Food on Campus (RFoC) program that offers “all you care to eat” meal options that include five staffed food stations: comfort food, deli, exhibition grill, pizza and pasta, market (soups and salads) and bakery.
ARAMARK is planning to offer three residential meal plans for $1,620 that include both full meals and “flex bucks” for a la carte selections at all three locations on campus. If students choose 200 meals and $400 in flexible spending credits, the cost per meal is $6.10. If they choose 400 meals with only $50 in flexible spending credits, the average cost per meal is $3.93.
Food plans for nonresidential students and staff have not been established yet. There will be plans for flexible spending alone. With all plans, flexible spending credits can be added at any time.
The cafeteria will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekend service will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for brunch and from 5-7 p.m. for dinner.
Changes to the cafeteria have not been finalized, although Finn expects to have some smaller tables in the cafeteria. “We have found that students want a comfortable place to eat together and relax,” Finn said. “We think the cafeteria will be much more inviting after all the changes have been completed.”
The Larry Joe’s coffee and snack bar in the atrium will be replaced by Einstein Bros Bagels, licensed by ARAMARK, which has specialty coffees. It will be open from early morning to late at night Monday through Thursday, with reduced hours on Friday and Saturday. The hours have not been finalized, and ARAMARK will work with campus community to adjust hours as needed based on demand, according to Kramer.
ARAMARK will also operate a Provisions on Demand (POD) Express in the lobby of the University Technology and Learning Center (UTLC). The POD Express will have a wide variety of ready-to-eat food items and Starbucks brewed coffee. The hours of operations will be set “to make sure we have the right operations open at the right time to service the students, faculty and staff,” according to Kramer.
“The POD Express will be really convenient for architecture students who often work late into the night,” Finn said.
Finn said that it was hard to end the University’s contract with Taher Dining Services because of the personal relationships built by Food Services Director Brent Bishop and his staff. “Brent has done a great job for us, and he is like a member of our family,” Finn said.
Taher’s cooking station in the atrium was very popular and moved the University in the direction of having food prepared in front of the customer. That concept will be expanded by ARAMARK.
“College food service is the bread and butter for ARAMARK, and we feel that they really understand this market,” Finn said. “The pricing is also very competitive because they really wanted our business.”
ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. Headquartered in Philadelphia, it has approximately 260,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries.