Bama Dining may switch providers

Bama Dining may switch providers
Despite rumors of its closing, the Subway in the Ferg was open and busy late Monday afternoon. / CW | Teresa Portone

The University of Alabama has opened up bidding for the operation of Bama Dining, a contract currently held by ARAMARK, according to a press release from Kristina Hopton-Jones, the director of the University Dining Service. “Best business practice suggests that such service contracts should be re-bid periodically to assure the contract contains the terms and conditions to allow dining to function efficiently in the future,” Hopton-Jones said in the press release. “The process is open to all vendors who are interested in submitting proposals.” Currently, ARAMARK operates the dining halls on campus as well as vendors in the Ferguson Center, Lloyd Hall and other on-campus eateries. ARAMARK, who re-bid for the dining contract, is in competition with other large dining service companies, including Chartwells and Sodexo, she said. The University of Alabama released a request for proposal, a statement by the University to any contractors wishing to fulfill certain provision services to the University, especially that of on-campus dining halls, on Oct. 14. Since the release of the RFP, Chartwells, a subsidiary of the Compass Food Group, has already started their research for their proposal. They recently set up tents on campus where students could take a survey about what they liked about Bama Dining now, their preferred dining locations and their recommendations for future food vendors on campus. “Sustainability has been a key strategic and operational objective for Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services,” Chartwells’ website reads. “We have implemented sustainable programs and practices on our campuses that help protect the environment, reduce waste, decrease our carbon footprint and support local communities.” Both Chartwells and Sodexo also held one-hour focus groups in Lloyd Hall in November. The Board of Trustees and Aramark first entered into a contract in 1996, according to an August 2010 article in The Crimson White. Hopton-Jones said the University will not know what changes could occur to on-campus dining until the deadline for proposals, Jan. 18, 2012, is reached. The new contract commencement date is July 1, 2012, she said.

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