New dining contract brings Dunkin Donuts, North Lake Village diner to FGCU in 2016
In fall 2016, students will notice several changes at campus dining, thanks to a 10-year dining contract FGCU has signed with Chartwells.
There will be a standalone Dunkin’ Donuts in the grassy area between Holmes Hall and the faculty parking lot. While the Dunkin’ Donuts will not have a drive-thru window, it will provide all of the bagels, donuts and coffee options found in a full-service Dunkin’ Donuts.
The Link and the C3 Convenience store will both be renamed “Outtakes.” Outtakes will offer sandwiches, grab ‘n go food, Blu Sushi, and pasta salads from Boar’s Head.
In Howard Hall, Taco Bell will be replaced with a Burger-Fi.
Vice president for Administrative Service Joe McDonald and a team of FGCU students and faculty chose Burger-Fi as a replacement because of its commitment to locally sourced food.
“It’s an environmentally conscious group. All their installations are made of recyclable, sustainable materials, so that’s pretty good,” McDonald said. “Eighty percent of the food products is locally grown, locally produced.”
Subway will be replaced by Boar’s Head, because of bad reviews Subway has started to receive nationally due to the type of chemicals used in their meat.
Azul’s will remain in Howard Hall.
Jamba Juice, Chick-fil-A and Blu Sushi will all remain in the Cohen Center, but Truly Organic Pizza will be replaced by Papa John’s.
“Truly organic pizza is not going to be here anymore,” McDonald said. “The sales have not been what we thought they would, the students as much as they wanted healthy foods, they didn’t support it.”
Starbucks and Einstein’s will both remain on campus, but they will be renovated in summer 2017.
In May 2016, FGCU will begin constructing a diner in North Lake Village, behind Eagles Landing. The diner will include a small stage for potential comedy shows and poetry readings, a game room and television room, and an indoor dining area. The kitchens at the diner will also provide catering for Alico Arena concession stands, which currently use food made in the South Village Dining Hall.
“Housing has been working on a plan to build a kind of community center to kind of draw the kids from north lake village together, and at the same time have a food option in it because there really is nothing over there,” McDonald said.
The diner is expected to be completed by June 2017, at which time SoVi will close for renovations.
Chartwells will take over for Aramark starting May 2, 2016. The contract is the result of one year of research, focus groups and contract negotiations.
McDonald said the cost of meal plans for students was a top priority for choosing a service.
“The number one goal is to keep the cost of meal plans constant for students,” McDonald said. Chartwells agreed to keep meal plan costs the same for three years once its contract begins.
Student body president Thieldens Elneus, along with vice president Jessica Scanlon and two other student representatives were involved in every step of the process, which vetted four different vendors for students.
One of their main focuses, according to Elneus, was making sure the chosen vendor would prioritize sustainability.
“Students are ready for something different,” Elneus said.
Chartwells will follow the Real Food Challenge guideline to have 20 percent of the university food budget spent on local, organic, sustainable and ethically humane food by 2020, and its contract requires it to offer vegan or vegetarian options at each of its locations.
McDonald said Chartwells also offers software, to let students track the food they offer from farm to table.
The search for a new dining services provider began one year ago.
“The university hired a marketing consultant to review the dining service operations here at the university,” McDonald said. “He took a look at our master plan, our enrollment, the dining operations that we have currently, and also evaluated each dining service facility itself.”
The marketing consultant gave FGCU a report, and the university used that to help develop their proposals for dining vendors.
In fall 2015, a group of student and faculty representatives met with four vendors – Aramark, Chartwells, Sodexo and Metz Culinary Management. The vendors were able to answer questions and provide a lunch to show a sample of the food they could offer at FGCU.
For each vendor, the FGCU representatives focused on cost, sustainable food options, catering services, and employee treatment.
Chartwells was recommended unanimously by the committee, partly because it was the company that offered to freeze meal costs for the longest amount of time – three years.
Chartwells also has a focus on sustainability that stood out to student representatives.
“Chartwells has a specific person within their company that focuses on sustainability and ensuring that all concepts are focused around that sustainability effort,” Elneus said. “They’re going to be working with the university to ensure that this process goes smoothly and is in line with the sustainability efforts that we as a university believe in.”
“It’s a slow process, but you can see change is coming,” McDonald said.
Part of the Chartwells contract dictates the company has to provide vegan and vegetarian food options.
“They have to offer at every location a vegan or a vegetarian option that is worthwhile, that’s not something that’s just a package that they throw at you,” McDonald said.
Another thing the FGCU representatives focused on was how good of a job the vendors could do as a caterer. The group deemed this as particularly important because of the university’s upcoming 20th anniversary, President Wilson Bradshaw’s retirement, and the inauguration of a new president.
Chartwells also seemed to treat its employees well, according to McDonald.
“We found that Chartwells was at the top level of how they treated their employees with the benefits,” McDonald said.
Jan. 18, Aramark employees met with Chartwells representatives in a townhall setting, to explain their philosophy and the application process.
“Chartwells will start interviewing them during spring break and then will get them lined up so they’re ready to take over, so the employees are in shape,” McDonald said.
“Chartwells provided a lot of great incentives to get students involved and get them high internships, get them managerial positions while currently taking classes, so that was one of the big things that we thought was good,” Elneus said.
Elneus said 80 percent of Chartwells employees are employees from vendors Chartwells took over for. “That was one of the big plusses for them,” Elneus said.