New food provider to be chosen as Sodexo contract ends
Wright State could be welcoming a new food provider in June of 2013, as current provider Sodexo’s contract will expire.
Sodexo has served as Wright State’s food provider since 1995, and has outbid other companies three times since then. It currently provides all of the food options available on Wright State campus, as well as Lake Campus.
Five companies were invited to compete for the bid, including national providers ARAMARK, Chartwells and Sodexo as well as regional suppliers AVI Foodsystems and Ovations (The food provider that is currently supplying the Nutter Center).
A committee of students and faculty have been assembled to determine which company will ultimately be selected, and the committee has begun meeting regularly.
“It’s a very big committee representing students, staff, faculty and people from student affairs,” said Executive Director of Business Services and Committee Member Art Neff. “We look at price, we look at quality and we look at services.”
The upcoming contract expiration will also give Wright State more freedom when it comes to food choices.
When the Union Market, the Hanger and the C-Store were built, much of the money was borrowed from tax exempt bonds. Under current state law, money borrowed from taxpayers cannot benefit a profit organization, such as Sodexo. This forced Wright State to go into the only possible legal contract with Sodexo, known as a management fee contract.
“We guarantee them this management fee if they’ll run, operate and manage our foods on campus and at lake campus,” said Neff.
The bonds were good for ten years, and the tenth year has just passed. The money owed by Wright State has now been paid back in full, giving them the freedom to enter into any type of contract that they choose.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re going out for bids,” said Neff. “We can have different kinds of contracts.”
Neff said that he is personally responsible for the well being of the students in the upcoming decision.
“I am the steward for the student’s money,” said Neff. “I want to make sure that when we do things, we want to do them in a business-like manner, because it’s their money.”