Imagine a bright, clean cafeteria where students have a variety of fresh foods to choose from, cooked-to-order at open concept stations. Orange heat lamps, and traditional cafeteria-style food will be replaced by sizzling hotplate entrées cooked and served on the spot.
A wider selection will be offered through a range of food types, including designer pizzas, pastas, stir-frys and sandwiches.
Students will experience this unique customer-centred dining experience starting September, 2003, as part of a new $3.5 million contract with food services provider Aramark.
The major upgrade—the first in 30 years—will include a renovation of dining facilities that serve a total capacity of 2,600 students in the residence complex. Major improvements to the University’s food court and the handful of franchised and cafeteria locations around the campus are also planned. And for those who bemoan the perennial long lineups at Tim Horton’s, another location will be added on campus.
Duncan Watt, Carleton University’s Vice-President (Finance and Administration), says the contract with Aramark will provide a new food concept for students.
“We are going to take the dining facilities from being an old cafeteria-style to a concept where people actually prepare the food in front of you,” says Watt. “This is going to be a profound change.”
Aramark has signed a letter of intent for a 10-year deal with the University. This ends the contract with Chartwells, the current food service provider. Aramark will attempt to retain all staff at Carleton. If that is not possible, personnel will be offered jobs at other Chartwells operations or they may take the option for severence, says Watt.
At peak times, 400 people are employed for food services. “We have been impressed with looking at Aramark facilities. We are absolutely confident that they can deliver,” Watt says. “Aramark has proven successful in Canada and the U.S., and is sure to boost ratings for Carleton’s facilities.”
“This is an exciting way of cooking for students on campus,” says Ed Kane, Director of University Services and Purchasing. He says students in residence will notice a huge difference in their dining experiences.
The dining room will be completed in time for September, and facelifts to the other cafeterias and food outlets will take place over the next two to three years.
This is a substantial deal for Aramark. Carleton University is one of the largest food operation contracts in the country, bigger than most hospitals and other universities.