U.Va. Renews Dining Services Partnership with Aramark for Next 20 Years

Students helping themselves to local food

Students enjoy a 2011 local foods fair held at the Fine Arts Cafe. The new contract with Aramark will provide for additional locally grown or produced products and more healthy choices.

The University of Virginia announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Aramark to continue to provide comprehensive dining services across Grounds.

Philadelphia-based Aramark is a global leader in food, facilities and uniforms with 270,000 employees in 22 countries. It provides dining services at more than 400 colleges and universities.

“Following a thorough, 18-month process that included an independent assessment of the dining program, proposal evaluations, firm presentations and contract negotiations, the University of Virginia has decided to continue our relationship with Aramark for these important services,” Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Pat Hogan said. “Aramark has been providing these services to U.Va. for more than 20 years, and we are confident that students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors will continue to benefit from this partnership.”

Aramark will continue to manage the University’s residential and retail dining centers, catering and vending services, and athletics-related concessions.

“Aramark is extremely proud to extend our long-standing partnership with one of the nation’s best universities,” said Mark Nelson, president of Aramark’s Higher Education business.  “As part of our mission to deliver experiences that enrich and nourish lives, we look forward to continuing to serve the U.Va. community through innovative dining, catering, vending and concessions services.”

Aramark has a long-standing history of providing enhancements to the dining program, including most recently, the design and funding of the new 35,000-square-foot Fresh Food Company at Newcomb Hall and the Pavilion XI (“The Pav”) food court.

As part of the new dining-services contract, which is retroactive to July 1, Aramark will invest more than $20 million to upgrade residential, retail and athletic dining facilities and provide more variety, featuring additional locally grown or produced products and more healthy choices, as well as a mix of national and local options. Aramark will solicit input from students, faculty and staff about the types of future dining options they are interested in bringing to Grounds. Any proposed enhancements or additions will require University approval.

The company will expand its sustainability program that currently includes recycling, composting, reduction of water consumption and other components. Aramark also will continue to work closely with sustainability-related groups across the University community.

As part of the agreement, Aramark will provide to the University $70 million, which will be earned over the 20-year term of the agreement. Consistent with restrictions specified in the contract, U.Va. will place the $70 million in escrow, and will use income generated from the escrowed funds for strategic initiatives approved by the Board of Visitors.

The timing complements work under way by a new subcommittee of the Board of Visitors Finance Committee formed in June by Rector George Keith Martin. The subcommittee has been charged with developing recommendations on a multi-year approach to affordable excellence, including a focus on tuition, financial aid and the predictability of tuition and fee costs.

“The work of this subcommittee will result in positive enhancements to the University’s financial model, with a focus on ensuring affordable excellence for students and their families,” Hogan said. “Income generated from the escrowed funds will provide more flexibility to that model and, hopefully, more opportunities to make investments that have lasting benefit for U.Va. and its students.”

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