Aramark apparent winner of WWU dining contract bid

After more than 50 years of contracting with Sodexo for its dining services, Western Washington University will likely get a new vendor.

Aramark is the apparent winner of a competitive bidding process that began in November 2010 and included a proposal from Sodexo.

“The university is very appreciative of Sodexo’s quality service over more than 50 years of partnership. The result of the bid should not detract from the fact that Sodexo was a strong partner in advancing our dining services program at Western with quality personnel,” Eileen Coughlin, vice president for student affairs at Western, said in a press release.

Western is working to finalize a contract with Aramark to provide campus dining services at the university. The company, which already provides food and facility management services to 600 colleges and universities in the United States, is headquartered in Philadelphia and has contracts in 22 countries.

The new 10-year contract, scheduled to begin Sept. 1, 2011, includes servicing three Western resident dining halls, catering and retail cafes and markets.

In the bidding process, Aramark presented Western with a proposal that addresses retail dining growth, residential dining enhancements and attention to themes important to the university, including sustainability, local partnerships, healthy food offerings and use of technology, according to the university’s press release.

Western’s Dining Services Contract Committee, which includes representatives from student leadership, faculty and staff, was actively involved in the selection process.

“The selection of Aramark as apparent successful vendor reflected careful evaluation of the companies’ proposals. The university community congratulates Aramark on their forward-thinking proposal and we welcome Aramark as a new partner with Western,” Coughlin said in the release.

The contract includes a provision that the successful vendor will hire — for a six-month probationary period — all current non-managerial employees who wish to continue being employed at the university dining program. The contract also stipulates that Western students will be given priority for part-time jobs in campus dining services and that currently employed students will be given first priority for those jobs.

Aramark and Western promptly will develop a plan to address staffing questions, facility renovation needs, timelines and other operational details. Additional details of the final proposal will be available once the new contract is completed and signed by both Western and Aramark.

“We are looking forward to this new partnership with Aramark. The university dining committees will be reviewing exciting new dining platform proposals for our campus before proceeding,” Coughlin said.

New dining venue proposals include a mix of national, proprietary and local brands, including a whole foods-like venue and an Old World-inspired pizza concept, which feature fresh, organic or locally grown offerings.


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