Tiger Dining has announced its new contract with Aramark, a food service company based in Philadelphia. The new contract came at the end of a 10-year contract with the former provider, Chartwells.
Aramark will be partnering with Tiger Dining for dining services and athletics concessions. Glenn Loughridge, director of Campus Dining, said with the growth of the University, there was a need for higher financial investment from the chosen partner and the contract Tiger Dining released stressed such.
In response to a Dining Task Force piloted by former Student Government President Jesse Westerhouse and continued by current SGA President Jacqueline Keck, Tiger Dining said they have ensured that the wants and needs of the student body were addressed in the new contract.
"Aramark offered an incredible investment package and wonderful ideas that would bolster Auburn's dedication to its students, including being members of the campus community have highlighted as a priority," Loughridge said.
Keck said Aramark brings a new vision to campus and that vision was guided by student input through the Task Force.
Loughridge said once the student research was done through the Task Force, Tiger Dining worked to include as much – if not all – of the wants and needs of students in the initial contract.
He said there are changes coming to payment methods that include options to purchase swipes for the renovated and proposed dining halls. Foy Union will be transformed into a dining hall over the summer semester. Loughridge said there is more to come for dining-hall-style eating.
Keck said students will be most aware of the switch from a retail-based dining experience to a communal dining experience. She said there will be more options for those with dietary restrictions while ensuring they are all eating in the same areas of campus.
"We are definitely planning on having meal swipes for next year," Loughridge said. "There are going to be some changes and some new options in the dining plan."
Loughridge said the goal by Tiger Dining was to allow students the opportunity to dine on campus daily economically.
Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Panera, Einsteins, Chicken Salad Chick, select food trucks and Panda Express will all remain on campus. Loughridge said students can expect a rebranding of all of the C-Stores, API, The Mediterranean Cafe and other Chartwells-specific chains.
"They are going to bring a whole new experience," Loughridge said. "We selected this vendor because we really would love to see some positive new changes. We are going to keep – on the retail side – some similar things, but we are going to go through a very deliberative process over the next coming weeks."
In addition to the changes above, Aramark and Tiger Dining will be rolling out a mobile-order system.
Aramark has served the Olympic Games since 1968 and is known for its relationship with professional sports teams. The goals of Aramark line up with Tiger Dining's commitment to sustainability, having announced an animal welfare policy and a commitment to cage-free shell eggs.
Loughridge said Tiger Dining is already working on more sustainable packaging and will be piloting reusable containers in the Village Dining facilities with the help of the Honors College. After the pilot, Loughridge said it will be a fully implemented effort.
The contract will be effective May 7. The transition will not occur until after classes have ended in the spring. Loughridge said he plans on making all conversations about dining open to student impression.