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Volume 70, Issue 142, Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Aramark wins food contract

Former service provider to keep campus favorites, invest $2.2 million 
in renovations

Cougar News Staff

The UH System Board of Regents approved Aramark, the food service provider that held UH's food contract for nearly 30 years prior to 1998, to once again serve UH at their meeting earlier this month.

"There's a lot of work that went into changing the food service contract. ... We've had seven years of time with Chartwells and we didn't get the kind of results that we wanted," said John Rudley, vice president for administration and finance. "We overwhelmingly went with Aramark."

Aramark will cover all food operations, including concession stands for the Athletics Department during sporting events, at UH, UH-Downtown and UH-Clear Lake beginning Aug. 1, Rudley said at their meeting May 19.

Rudley said UH will begin receiving 7.5 percent of Aramark's commission sales during the first year, but that may change since negotiations are still underway. 

The approval of Aramark came after the Food Service Advisory Committee -- which was comprised of students, faculty, staff and administrators -- spent much of the academic year working with prospective food service vendors and evaluating applications. 

Members of the committee had the choice of renewing Chartwells' contract, which they held from 1998 until recently, or creating a new contract.

One of the reasons the committee chose Aramark, Rudley said, is because they will make $2.2 million of renovations around the campus. This includes placing an Einstein Bros. Bagels location in Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall, adding a casual dining restaurant in the University Center Underground and changing residential dining in Moody Towers and Oberholtzer Hall into all-you-care-to-eat locations.

The $2.2 million investment into renovations is a decrease in the amount that UH normally allows food service providers to invest. Rudley said University officials wanted vendors to concentrate more on promoting sales than making renovations.

Although Aramark will make many changes to University dining by offering additional healthier options and different meal plan options, food that has been popular on campus will remain.

"There are a lot of brand names that we will keep, but by the end of the day we expect Aramark to have more services," Rudley said.

The regents also approved a $35.14 million project for a new UH-Downtown building and parking lot.

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