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Sodexho awarded UTM food contract

A committee chosen to make the official recommendation for the foodservice contract delivered a 3 to 4 decision in favor of Sodexho Alliance, Inc.

Soon, students can expect to receive requests to get involved in a study that will greatly influence the changes to be implemented under a revised contract.

Earlier this year, requests went out across the country for vendors for proposals to provide foodservice for the UTM campus.

Fame, Valley Foods, Aramark and Sodexho each submitted plans for improving current offerings. After much deliberation, it was decided that the field would be narrowed once more to Aramark and Sodexho.

Dr. Katie High, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, said that Sodexho and Aramark presented well.

“We wanted to get both the campus and the general community involved,” High said. “That is why we had open forums.”

The committee used a scoring system to rate both proposals individually, broken into areas of “organizational experience / capabilities,” “technical quality of proposal,” and “financial return to the University.”

Steve Vantrease, University Center Director and committee member, said that there may have been confusion in the interpretation of some of the ratings.

“When I rated ‘transition,’ I gave Sodexho very high marks because they were already here,” Vantrease said. “However, one particular member gave [Sodexho] low marks because they didn’t explain their transition.”

Vantrease was joined by Jeff Hoyer of Communications, Earl Wright of Housing, Brian Davis of the SGA, Beau Pemberton of URHA, Joey Pierce of the SGA and Lisa Owens of URHA.

Al Hooten, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, devised the rating system and served as the committee’s ex officio.

“Some areas, such as ‘merchandising program’, preference was given to Aramark,” Hooten said. “Overall, it was close.”

Due to the proprietary nature of specifics in each proposal, few details could be released.

However, Dr. High said that although as impressive as some of the presentations may have been, each would have costs eventually expensed back to the University.