Students, faculty, and staff looking for healthier food options at Florida State University should expect to see a transformation to their on-campus menu in more than $ 173 million deal with the catering giant Sodexo.
On Wednesday, the university announced to its board of directors that it has signed a 10-year restaurant services contract with industry giant Sodexo, which will impact restaurant operations on campus and in communities. Doak Campbell and Dick Howser stages.
The contract with Sodexo is valued at more than $ 173 million over the next 10 years. FSU’s transition to Sodexo from its current supplier, Aramark, becomes official this summer. Under Aramark, FSU has earned over $ 74 million in the past 15 years.
The new focus will be on healthy and locally produced food, a variety of dining options including expanded vegan and vegetarian choices, improved technology for faster access, and personal interaction with skilled chefs who will be available to help you. provide personal consultations.
Celebrity chef / entrepreneur and FSU alumnus Art Smith will bring his expertise and extensive network of resources. Oprah’s former personal chef, who is recognized as one of the country’s leading chefs and culinary educators, has been hired by Sodexo to serve as a “culinary ambassador” for FSU’s food service operations.
Aramark’s 1,000 full-time and part-time employees are expected to find employment at the new company.
“We are thrilled with our new relationship and excited to bring Chef Smith, one of our top performing graduates, back to the State of Florida to enhance the overall dining experience for our students and the entire community. campus, ”FSU President John Thrasher said.
Sodexo serves universities including Georgia Tech, the University of South Carolina, Liberty University, Northwestern University, and the College of William & Mary. Liberty’s Main Dining Room is the # 1 ranked dining room in the country, according to BestColleges.com. Sodexo was Florida A&M’s food service provider until December 2013.
FSU student body president Nathan Molina said Sodexo is following up on what many students have requested.
“The companies were very excited to listen to the students,” Molina said of the four companies in the bidding process. “The students wanted more dynamic restaurant changes at the university and that’s what we’re getting with this contract.
“There was a very specific interest in having more vegan and vegetarian options more available. “
Sodexo was attractive to FSU because of its commitment to promoting locally produced foods, its focus on nutrition and its investment in sustainability efforts, university officials said. The company will be responsible for all of the university’s food and catering operations, including catering and a new catering truck.
Universities across the country are investing in on-campus restaurants and responding to the changing needs of student demands as part of the overall drive to recruit, retain and retain campus-focused students to increase rates graduation.
“I am very proud of this agreement,” said Kyle Clark, FSU vice president of finance and administration. “Catering is obviously an integral part of student success and, by extension, of the university’s efforts to reach the Top 25.
“I expect the state of Florida to become one of the best restaurant programs in the country. “
Foodservice is a huge operation at FSU, with 41,000 students, of which 6,000 live on campus. Revenues from its more than 26 campus restaurants, sports dining hall, and sports concessions bring in about $ 31 million annually.
Currently, 5,000 students are taking advantage of restaurant meal plans that range from $ 525 to $ 1,999 per semester. These costs are not expected to increase for the 2017-18 school year, Clark said.
But what will change is a gradual transformation of each dining room:
The Suwannee Hall, located in the middle of campus and serving “thousands” of meals a day, will be renovated with a focus on sustainability, health and well-being.
Sodexo plans to turn it into a 24/7 operation offering Florida produce and food with high-tech kiosk ordering systems and table-tracking technology for late-night orders. Meals can be ordered at the request of diners, then brought directly to the table when ready.
Students will also have direct access to nutritionists.
The Fresh Food Company, another large dining hall located across from the College of Medicine, will be redesigned to become the “Seminole Test Kitchen” or “STK.
Inside, it will offer:
- Florida flavors (focusing on Florida based menus)
- The Greenery (locally grown greens and salads)
- Fishing (offering fresh Florida seafood)
- Create your own station (offering individual choice selections)
- The Butcher’s Shop (grills)
- A bakery.
Another feature will be the summer kitchens, designed for outdoor dining.
Students would have the opportunity to sample new items created by Smith and other chefs working on and off campus. Students could vote for their favorites, and those dishes were coming back and appearing in other restaurants on campus.
A new addition to the Suwannee and Fresh Food Company is “1851,” the first of several planned “micro-restaurants” to open this fall.
The 20,000 square foot dining hall will be connected to the new Jefferson and Woodward residence hall.
Inside, it will offer a grocery store, three themed restaurants (Italian, comfort food and international cuisine) and a grill.
In addition, the FSU Athletics Department and Seminole Boosters will be working with Sodexo to add new catering services to the Dick Howser and Doak Campbell stadiums.
Jim Jenkins, CEO of Sodexo Universities East, said the partnership is student-focused.
“Sodexo and Florida State University form a strong alliance,” Jenkins said. “This partnership will extend FSU’s reputation as a leader in student enrollment, retention and satisfaction through our quality of life services. Our team can’t wait to get started.
Contact senior writer Byron Dobson at [email protected] or on Twitter @byrondobson.