Portland State has ended its contract with Sodexho, the current on-campus food service provider, five years early. Sodexho will remain the food provider until June 30, 2007, and Aramark Higher Education will take Sodexho’s place on July 1, according to Julie North, director of Auxiliary Services.
Portland State has ended its contract with Sodexho, the current on-campus food service provider, five years early.
Sodexho will remain the food provider until June 30, 2007, and Aramark Higher Education will take Sodexho’s place on July 1, according to Julie North, director of Auxiliary Services. Sodexho has been the PSU food service provider for less than two years. The contract was originally set for seven years.
Aramark, a national dining provider, was the PSU food provider until July 2005, before Sodexho took over food services. A buyout, where Aramark will pay Sodexho for any remodel or alteration Sodexho made in the food court, is the only financial change that will take place during the transition, North said.
North said that a buyout is commonly the only financial change when a university food service contract ends, like the buyout that Sodexho paid to Aramark when Sodexho took over the food service contract in 2005. North estimates that the buyout will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
North said that she and the university decided to end the contract with Sodexho early because of “inconsistencies in general service,” the food quality, and cost, but would not give more specific reasons.
“I want to be respectful to Sodexho and the employees,” North said about why she did not want to explain in more detail. She said that she has not been able to discuss the decision with student government, and wants to talk with student representatives before she explains more.
Most Sodexho employees that are paid by the hour will keep their jobs when the change is made to Aramark, North said. Aramark came in second to Sodexho in 2005 in bids to become the new PSU food service provider.
North said Auxiliary Services selected Aramark because Aramark was the second-place bid.
“We need a low-cost point for students in the food court,” North said. “We need to be cognizant that students do like multiple options.”
North made the decision to end the contract on March 1, giving 120 days notice before the July 1 transition. North said that the university will work on a plan for the future of food services with Aramark over the next few months.
Sodexho has seen controversy since it first came to Portland State. In 2005, students planned to boycott the company, saying that the company had a history of union-busting and racist policies.
Kayla Goldfarb, a member of the student advocacy group Students for Unity, said that the group had been planning another protest of Sodexho.
“I’m really happy,” she said. “We feel like we won without even trying.”
-Additional reporting by Deeda Schroederz