The University’s Office of Campus and Student Life has named Bon Appétit Management Company as the new campus food service vendor, effective July 1, 2016.
Last year UChicago Dining released a request for proposals from food service companies nationwide. Bon Appétit was chosen in part because its mission and experience with providing food service for higher education institutions align with UChicago’s mission to build community through food, create unique dining experiences, and procure and serve the best food while supporting surrounding neighborhoods and the city of Chicago.
“Bon Appétit put together an outstanding proposal, highlighting a commitment to great food through local sourcing, cooking from scratch and continuous training,” said Richard Mason, executive director of UChicago Dining. “The company demonstrated a commitment to sustainable practices and engagement with the local community, and offered interesting and exciting proposals to feature chefs like Rick Bayless and Jose Andres in our retail locations.”
The selection of Bon Appétit was the result of a months-long process that began in fall 2015 with the establishment of a roughly 25-member selection committee that assisted UChicago Dining in its request-for-proposal process, including site visits to eight peer institutions and full-day interviews with vendors. The committee was comprised of students from Inter-House Council and Student Government, faculty Resident Masters, and staff members from Campus and Student Life, the offices of the President, the Provost, Civic Engagement, Business Diversity, and the academic divisions and departments.
“Bon Appétit’s proposal demonstrated that they truly understand the UChicago community, and could provide fresh and innovative food that will excite our students, faculty and staff,” said Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services. “They are widely recognized in the food service industry, and we are confident Bon Appétit will fulfill our high expectations about how dining contributes to our vibrant community. “
David Clark, Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Assistant Dean in the College, also praised the breadth and depth of the selection process. “We collected thoughtful feedback from our partners across campus, assessed the performance of the responding firms at peer institutions by making site visits, and ultimately identified Bon Appétit as the best company to partner with UChicago Dining,” Clark said.
Bon Appétit has pledged to partner with the Office of Civic Engagement through UChicago Local and with the Office of Business Diversity in purchasing from mid-South Side businesses, particularly women- and minority-owned businesses and enterprises, enhancing the University’s commitment to working with local business partners.
The company also has demonstrated an ability to meet the needs and expectations that students have identified as most important in a dining program. “Bon Appétit brings ambitious yet realistic plans to elevate our dining program in every way—from fresher ingredients to better food preparation and improved food quality,” said Michael Meng, a second-year public policy major who participated in the selection committee and serves on the Campus Dining Advisory Board, comprised of Student Government and Inter-House Council members. “The team we interviewed was stellar in their experience and genuine willingness to listen to and interact with students.”
Bon Appétit will begin operations July 1, 2016, serving all three residential dining commons, the academic cafes and the retail markets. For a full list of locations, updated information on the hours of operations, and more information on the transition, please visit dining.uchicago.edu. For more information on Bon Appétit, visit www.bamco.com.