Aramark will be returning to Capital to provide next year’s food services, according to vice president of business and finance, Mike Horan.
The food service provider will be entering its third year at Capital this upcoming fall.
The continuation of this contract will bring new renovations across campus, including changes to the kitchen in One Main that will assist employees in getting food out faster, and improvements to the menu.
“When we signed a deal with Aramark, they fronted $3 million of which we could use to upgrade facilities,” Horan said. “Plus, they give us $100,000 a year for 10 years.” There is a clause attached to the contract that signifies that it can be broken at the discretion of the university.
The money provided by Aramark, both lump sum and per month, helped make upgrades to Cap Grounds and the new Mezz fitness center.
“One of the ways we’re hoping to help Aramark get better is by providing better [and more usable] facilities for them,” Horan said.
Other improvements will include a conveyor belt in Capital Court that comes around for students to discard their empty food trays and a new dish washing machine that allows for waste products to be turned into compost. This will aid in Capital’s attempt to be more “green.”
“We’re also going to be putting in what is called a Pod Express,” Horan said. “It will be grab-and-go style food and other groceries that students can pay for with their Capbucks.”
The Pod Express will be open during library business hours, and it will require staffing to maintain.
Students can expect food plans for next year to provide more Capbucks to accommodate the newfound flexibility both on and off campus.
“The one place we’re going to add, hopefully in the next 30 days, is a pizza place,” Horan said. “So now students can have Jimmy John’s delivered, but I want the [option] of a delivery pizza place.”
All of these changes are being made in an attempt to improve student surveys that are completed about food options on campus and Aramark’s performance. In Aramark’s first year on campus, student surveys revealed a mass distaste for the food provider, but after the changes that have already been made in an attempt to improve the food consuming process, the survey results have improved.
Students were profiled about their Aramark experiences, and most of the responses included complaints about inedible food like raw chicken and moldy fruit.
One student who agreed to be surveyed is senior marketing, public relations, and graphic design triple major Caroline Luma, who said “I do like how they redesigned the dining areas on campus … [but] I feel queasy whenever I eat it.”
She also spoke of having to leave campus to eat.
“I have not eaten anything from campus in a year due to [all] the times I got sick,” Luma said. “This is a big inconvenience because I have to leave campus to get something during an hour break.”
While it is possible to have free time in college, the luxury of campus dining is that it’s quick and convenient, so students can return to studying with haste.
Junior marketing and Spanish double-major Mallory Stickle said, “One time I found mold on my blueberries.”
There have been various other instances brought to light on social media about nasty finds in Aramark-provided food: hair, mold, undercooked, etc; however, the university is confident that with the planned renovations and changes to dining services, Aramark will soon be able to provide satisfactory dining experiences.
“We’re pushing Aramark on almost every level, and I think they’re responding,” Horan said. “Our goal is to continue to give students even more choice and supply more opportunity.”
In the interest of providing more food options, Capital recently implemented a new program that allows students to use their Capbucks to pay for food at Jimmy John’s, Zoe’s, Guiseppe’s, and Moshi Sushi. Zoe’s hit almost $8,000 in Capbuck’s sales during the first week. The office of business and finance is currently looking for a restaurant that can fill in late-night hours after the aforementioned restaurants close.
“We’re always open to new ideas and vendors of interest, and would love to hear feedback,” Horan said. Students can email questions, comments, and concern to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information about campus dining can be found at capital.campusdish.com.