The dining services selection committee will announce Troy’s next food services vendor May 1, according to Dr. Jim Bookout, the senior vice chancellor for financial affairs.
A request for information (RFI) “was sent to the top 10 food services in the country to include Aramark, Compass/Chartwells, etc.” on Feb. 1, Bookout explained in an email to the Tropolitan.
The RFI is a document inviting food service companies to bid on the contract, much like a job application. It also details the requirements for the future contract and asks companies how they would manage the dining services differently than their competitors.
Both Sodexo, the current food service vendor, and Aramark, the vendor for the University of South Alabama, have confirmed to the Tropolitan that they are competing for the contract.
“The RFI we sent out is almost identical to our current contract we have in place with Sodexo,” said Morgan Long, the SGA vice president of campus activities and student representative for the selection committee. “The RFI is simply the starting point and once we start serious negotiations on which distributer we will choose, there will be more information added to it.”
Although little information has been shared by administration about addressing the concerns students have with the current dining services, Long said there have been some changes made “in areas concerning maintenance and employment.”
“We added that there must be public notice about broken equipment and that it must be fixed in a certain time frame,” he said. “We also changed wording to strongly suggest a student workforce within the food distributor.
“This will create more jobs for students on campus.”
Bookout explained that the RFI was not required, but that Troy sent it as a “good business practice.”
“The decision to release an RFI for Dining Services is solely to assess the options available to Troy in preparation for the upcoming contract expiration date,” Bookout said. “As with any service, there are always issues that need addressing and processes that need attention.
“Sodexo has always been very responsive to our suggestions to resolve any issues.”
The deadline for food service companies to reply to the RFI is March 29, according to Bookout.
After that, the review committee will decide on finalists to invite to campus for a presentation to the committee. The final decision will be made by May 1.
According to Bookout, the current contract will end Sept. 30.