Starting next month, Campus Dining at Stony Brook will be gearing up for proposals by food service contractors, ending a ten-year contract with Compass Group USA.
Campus Dining Services, one of the several agencies run by the Faculty Student Association, has hired a consultant, Porter Consulting Worldwide, to help with the bidding process.
Porter Consulting Worldwide will be helping SBU draft a Request for Proposal, or RFP. The RFP is an invitation for suppliers to submit a proposal, usually through a bidding process, on a specific commodity or service.
A draft of the RFP will be finished by December, said Dawn Villacci, the customer service manager at the FSA. The rough draft will be presented to a small group of administrators within the campus community that ‘clearly identifies the issues and concerns of campus dining.’
Villacci is also in charge of a 15-member committee, tentatively called the ‘campus dining service selection committee,’ which is in charge of overseeing the proposals submitted to Campus Dining. The committee is filled with representatives from the Undergraduate Student Government, Residence Hall Association, President’s Office as well as a few other organizations on campus.
In addition, Villacci said, ‘About half of the committee [members are] students.’
Campus Dining has sent an email through lotus notes asking students to rate their dining experiences.
Campus Dining has implemented some changes that address student comments and complaints. Last weekend, as well as next weekend, brunch will not be available at Kelly. Instead, only the normal breakfast options usually provided during the weekdays will be open to students. This trial run at Kelly was implemented, Villacci said, because ‘many students complained about brunch during the weekend.’ Brunch will still be served at H-Quad.
Certain meal plan options will not change regardless of the switch in contractors. Burger King, Taco Bell’s and other fast food services will stay on campus. ‘The contractor has to have a plan with them,’ Villacci said. Currently, most large food service contractors do have existing contracts with many fast food restaurants.
Although the new contractor may work with different companies, certain foods such as the Union Commons’ Halal, and Kelly’s Pizza and Mexican food will still be offered to students.
The Health Sciences Center, SB Southampton and Jasmine will also not be affected by the change in contracts. The FSA owns and runs the food services at the HSC and SB Southampton, while another contractor, Cafe Spice, runs Jasmine.
Many students prefer the meal choices offered at the HSC to other places on campus. Some students have noticed that food at the HSC is less expensive compared with other campus outlets. In a prior interview, Angela Agnello, director of marketing and communications at FSA, had responded with ‘HSC targets a different audience including patients, doctors and HSC students. But on-campus we serve a different population.’
Villacci stressed the fact that HSC is less expensive compared with other places on campus because hospital food is subsidized. There is only one kitchen where patients, doctors and guests have their food prepared. ‘Patient feeding contributes to the budget,’ Villacci said.
She continued by saying that as of now, it is unlikely for the FSA to operate dining at Stony Brook’s west campus without a contractor, the way it does at HSC, due to the size and complexity of the population.
Stony Brook’s campus population is larger than many other colleges, with a $25 million account. An important standard for choosing contractors will be the ability of that company to ‘fit into our campus culture,’ Villacci said. The new contractor must also work with the two unions on campus; one for food services and cashiers and the other for cooks and chefs.
She continued with, ‘The change happens over the summer. It’s a good thing’hellip;.there is a transition, and the contractor has time to get into gear for full swing before the campus [comes back].’
The contract with Chartwells ends on June 30th.
Possible bidders that Villacci mentioned, includes Aramark Corp. and Sodexho, Inc., two contractors within the top five of 2007’s food management companies, as rated by their gross revenues.
The proposals are scheduled to arrive during middle of February. Contractors are free to bid by the end of March.