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DePauw switches from Sodexo to Bon Appetit

By Leann Burke
On April 5, 2013

Dining services announced that DePauw will switch from Sodexo to Bon Appetit as the dining service partner in an email to the DePauw community on March 21. The switch will take effect July 1.
The university began the search for a new company in October and formed the Dining Service Committee, a group of students, staff and administrators. The committee began work after DePauw's contract with Sodexo expired. During the selection process, the committee reviewed proposals from Sodexo, Aramark and Bon Appetit before choosing Bon Appetit as the new partner.
The committee talked to peer institutions already partnered with Bon Appetit when making its decision, and the feedback was positive. The March 21 email reported that several schools, including Carleton College, Oberlin College and Wabash College are pleased with Bon Appetit's services and the freshness and quality of the food served.
The committee also considered the company's willingness to collaborate on the upcoming Hoover Hall construction project.
"We wanted to ensure that the provider that helped design the kitchen aspects of [Hoover Hall] would be the long-term provider for the food," Audra Blasdel, director of community relations and auxiliary services said.
According to the email sent on March 21, Bon Appetit has agreed to collaborate with campus sustainability groups by using the campus farm and other local sources, as well as by looking at ways to increase sustainability. The transition will bring changes in other areas, however, including meal plans and food pricing.
"I don't think it's anything major," Blasdel said. "You'll see the same meal plans exist, with an extra option. It's tweaks."
The extra option will be the residence hall plus plan and will replace the current residence hall plan as the largest available. A flat-rate all you can eat option at the Hub will also be added. For a single price, students will be able to mix and match between the vendors.
The transition to Bon Appetit may also change the dining staff at DePauw. While all non-management employees will be able to keep their jobs and benefits, Sodexo-contracted employees, including Steve Santo and two others, may not make the transition.
"We talked to Bon Apetit and said that all the employees, all the current hourly employees must be offered positions in the new operation," President Brian Casey said. "We have less control over the contractual Sodexo employees."
All current management employees are being interviewed by Bon Appetit.
"DePauw cannot be involved in management team building because of contracts and privacy," Blasdel said. "But Bon Appetit has a representative on campus a lot to make sure they are building best team."
DePauw faculty and staff want the management employees to stay. Recently, an email circulated around the community in support of Steve Santo.
"I know there are a lot of people who'd like to see them stay," Jeff Hansen, professor of chemistry said.
Hansen teaches the Sweet and Savory Science Winter Term course where he works closely with Sodexo employees including Linda Wallace in the Den, Steve Santo and Fred Mildner, chef in the Hub.
"They're not just part of Sodexo," Hansen said. "They're part of the DePauw community as a whole, and, especially in Santo's case, the Greencastle community too."  

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