Aramark apparent new vendor for WWU Dining Services, replacing Sodexo

Aramark is the apparent successful vendor for a new contract for campus dining services at Western Washington University.

The new 10-year contract is scheduled to begin Sept. 1, 2011. Aramark will be providing dining services at Western to include three resident dining halls, catering and retail cafes and markets. A competitive bid process with a request for proposals was issued in November 2010. The result included proposals from two high-quality national vendors: Aramark and Sodexo.

“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,” said Eileen Coughlin, vice president for Student Affairs at Western.

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.

Coughlin thanked Sodexo for its service to the university. For the past 50 years, Sodexo has been Western’s dining services vendor.

“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,” Coughlin said.

The new 10-year 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.

There was active campus involvement in the process of selecting a new vendor through the campus Dining Services Contract Committee; that committee included representatives from student leadership, faculty and staff.

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 that will resonate with and engage the student population, including a whole foods-like venue, “Engrained Café,” “Greens to Go” and "Topio's,” an Old World-inspired pizza concept, all of which feature fresh, organic or locally grown offerings.

About Aramark: Aramark provides food service and facility management services in 22 countries, including 600 colleges and universities in the United State covering residential and retail dining, conference, catering and concession food services.

Aramark soon will be taking over the food services at WWU from Sodexo, including the Fairhaven Commons eatery shown here. Photo by Daniel Berman | University Communications intern
Aramark soon will be taking over the food services at WWU from Sodexo, including the Fairhaven Commons eatery shown here. Photo by Daniel Berman | University Communications intern