University reviews on-campus dining
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 03:04
In an email to the student body, Student Union President Herbie Rosen ’12 and Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins announced a “comprehensive dining review” that could bring lasting and substantial changes for University dining services.
“This assessment will include a baseline review of our current operations and facilities,” Rosen and Collins wrote in the email. “We hope that a Dining Services Plan can be constructed with long-term requirements for facilities, services, venues, meal plans, catering and all aspects of dining at Brandeis.”
In an interview with the Justice, Collins explained that because the University has had the same provider, Aramark, for 14 years, it is time for the administration to examine and evaluate dining services. “We began our relationship with Aramark in 1998. The dining programs of ’98 were different from those of the ’70s and the ’80s, and the dining programs of 2012 and ’13 are likely even more different,” he said. “I think that we’re exploring where we’re going to be in the next five years and 10 years with dining.”
The email also said that a food service consultant has been brought in to assist with the process. According to Collins, the consultant’s name is Ray Petit, and he will be a part of two focus groups that will take place with students on May 1 and 2.
According to the Petit Consulting website, the company “provides insightful and experienced planning advice to foodservice and hospitality clients.” The company’s client list includes many colleges and universities, including local ones such as Emerson College, Smith College and Tufts University.
In terms of specific issues that will be addressed, Collins cited “meal plan issues that [the University has]. There are choices, selections that students have talked about, venues which may not be reflective of what … our peer sets are doing.”
“The University is undergoing a dining review because they finally reached a point where they’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from the community with the strategic plan launching, a new administration, the university wanting to move forward—it’s time to just look at our dining services,” said Rosen in an interview with the Justice.
Rosen added that he has “met with the consultant … and outlined student concerns and thoughts, [and] what we’d like to see from this process ideally.” Rosen also said that he has opened the discussion to students using focus groups.
In an email to the Justice, Director of Dining Services Aaron Bennos wrote that he thinks it “makes good business sense for any company, in this case the University, to evaluate their contracts. There are a number of areas that will be looked at, from hours of service, meal plan options, and the facilities that we operate in.”
There will be follow-up surveys sent to the University community in the fall to continue to evaluate dining services on campus.
Collins was not able to provide a more specific timeline for the evaluation.