After nine years with Sodexo food services, the University of La Verne has decided to place a bid for other companies to fulfill the University’s residential dining, retail and catering needs.
“As ULV is in an era of growth, we need to have a consistency in quality in our residential dining, retail and catering and this process can ensure our future” Dean of Students Loretta Rahmani said.
Because of the bidding process many students on campus have noticed a change in the dining services provided in Davenport for the past two weeks.
“I loved every bit of it, especially the salmon,” sophomore computer science major Chase Haley said.
To many there was no significant change while others felt like it was a good start.
“Of course I noticed, it’s about five times better. I saw things I’ve never seen in Davenport in my whole four years here,” said senior athletic training major Corbin Henault.
The bidders are Cornucopia, Aramark, Bon Appétit and Sodexo, with the bid open any of these companies could be the next food provider for the University.
To coincide with the bids the companies have planned focus groups to get information on how they can serve the University, from the dining services portion, the Barbra’s place retail portion, and catering.
Sodexo’s focus group took place March 24. The panel was already planned prior to the bid but Sodexo used it to see how it could better serve La Verne students.
At the focus group students were asked how Sodexo could better accommodate their dining needs, as well as what they expected from a dining hall.
“Sodexo’s panel was positive because we have a history with them. For them it was telling us what they can do better,” Henault said.
At the Aramark focus group students spoke more about food in general, their favorites, and what type of food they would like be served in their ideal dining hall.
As a part of the process Sodexo is allowed a 30 day period to show improvement and fix whatever was wrong in the first place.
Following is a 90 day period in which a committee headed by Rahmani samples the other provider’s food, finds out what they can offer the University, as well as their financial plan.
From there the committee makes a recommendation to University President Stephen Morgan.
Aramark is a national company that serves several university campuses.
Before partnering with Sodexo the University’s dining services were ran by Aramark for 15 years.
“After 15 years we went out to bid with Aramark due to multiple years of management transition,” Rahmani said.
Bon Appétit is a regional company, however they only operate on private college campuses, where dining and among other things on campus is believed to be more personal.
Bon Appétit’s focus group was held on Wednesday.
What the University is looking for in a company is regional support and financial backing, which is what a large company could easily do.
Students who have not attended the panels are unfamiliar with many of the companies but hope for quality food, consistency, healthy choices, flexible hours, and more flexible meal plans.
The final decision regarding the University’s food services will be decided some time in May.
Michael Phillips can be reached at email@example.com.