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Monday, June 27, 2022

UF to renew 10–year food service contract with Aramark

University officials plan to give the manager of UF's culinary kingdom control of campus food services for 10 more years starting July 2009.

UF will offer Aramark, which has been UF's food service provider since 1995, a new 10-year contract with UF before the start of the summer B semester.

Aramark oversees the operation of all of UF's dining facilities, including Gator Corner Dining Center, Fresh Food Company, Starbucks and Subway. About 40 locations are under its jurisdiction.

The language of the contract is still being worked out, said Bob Miller, UF's associate vice president of business affairs, but it should be signed by late June or early July.

On the current food service contract, UF receives a 10.4 percent commission on all sales, said Lionel Dubay, director of UF's Business Services Division. UF's share was about $2.5 million for the 2006-2007 fiscal year, Dubay said. Data are not yet available for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

The new contract, Miller said, will include a clause that obligates Aramark to try to reduce the number of unused meal plan meals, in part by increasing the number of locations on campus that accept the meal plan.

Students currently can purchase plans that provide a certain number of meals per week or an unlimited number of meals per semester.

Over the 2006-2007 fiscal year, 38.7 percent of meals were unused, Miller said. The year before, he said, it was 38.6 percent.

He noted that other universities, such as the University of Central Florida and Florida State University, have similar percentages of unused meals. Aramark is also the food service provider at those schools.

Kellie Dale, UF Student Senate president, said she has been working with Miller on alternate plans that could reduce the number of unused meals.

Dale said she has been pushing to increase the grace periods at the beginning and end of semesters that allow students to upgrade or downgrade their meal plans.

Currently, students are given a 13-day grace period for the fall and a six-day period for the spring.Dale said students don't know what their lives will be like when they first get to campus.

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"You might realize that you like to eat out more with your friends than at Broward Dining," she said.

Although Aramark surveys indicate students are satisfied, UF's decision to renew with the company was not without protest. One student senator, Ben Dictor, presented a bill to Student Senate in April calling for UF to restart the bidding process that led to the new contract.

The bill, which failed, points out that Aramark was the only company to bid on the contract and states that UF did not give other companies enough time to research and submit bids.

However, Miller said if any of the companies had asked for more time, he thinks UF would have extended the deadline.

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