Sodexho, Bon Appetit Win Dining ContractsBy Jennifer Krishnan
MIT has awarded Sodexho the contract for community dining, which includes Lobdell, Morss Hall in Walker Memorial, and the satellite locations on campus. Bon Appetit won the contract for residential dining, which includes the dining halls in Baker House, Next House, and Simmons Hall, as well MacGregor Convenience.
MIT will continue to contract Aramark for catering and the Faculty Club.
“We’re going to have three different vendors on campus next fall,” in addition to the independent vendors in the Student Center, said Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict.
These three firms are “considered to be the heavyweights of the [food] industry,” said Campus Activities Complex Director Phillip J. Walsh.
“It’s always wonderful to find that your findings are in direct link and support of your goals,” said Director of Campus Dining Richard D. Berlin III.
Combined with the contracting of The Alpine Bagel Co. and Arrow Street Crepes, as well as the addition of LaVerde’s Market to the MIT Card, students next year will see increased competition as well as a better balance between cooking, buying food on campus, and eating off-campus, both of which were major goals established by the Campus Dining Board, Berlin said.
For the three major contracts, vendor proposals were reviewed by a vendor selection committee, whose membership included several members of the Campus Dining Board, Walsh said.
The process included on-campus interviews and visits to other sites.
The selection committee then shared its proposal with the Dining Board and passed it on to Benedict for final approval.
“This is the culmination of a community effort,” Walsh said. “This fall, I think students will see the results of all [the] work” that people have put in.
“The Campus Dining Board will continue in its role ... and act as an advisory board on campus dining issues,” Benedict said.
MIT Card a success at LaVerde’s
LaVerde’s began to accept the MIT Card for payment during finals week.
Ray Lussier, a night manager at LaVerde’s, said being able to accept the MIT Card was “wonderful.”
“It’s very encouraging ... and it’s growing,” he said.
Lussier said he thought MIT Card usage would increase at the beginning of the new school year.
“In the old days, kids would come running in with their cards, and we would have to say ‘no,’” he said. “Now we can say ‘yes.’”
Contract details under discussion
MIT is now working to establish the details of the contracts and interviewing candidates management positions, Walsh said.
“Any [Aramark] worker that wants to continue [working at MIT] will have the opportunity to do so,” Berlin said. “If they want a job here ... these contractors a required to offer them positions.”
Walsh said the three major vendors would be contracted for five years, with a possible extension of three years.
Berlin said Alpine would be contracted for five years, and Arrow Street Crepes would probably be contracted for three years.
MIT not new for Bon Appetit
While the residential dining contract is new for Bon Appetit, the company has had some experience with MIT students. Both Sigma Nu and Pi Lambda Phi have hired to Bon Appetit to provide their dinners, said Jacob O. Kitzman ’04, steward for Sigma Nu.
“We weren’t very satisfied with the quality of their food,” Kitzman said. “They tended to use a lot of butter ... and it just didn’t taste that good.”
Sigma Nu no longer contracts Bon Appetit.
Kitzman added that his fraternity’s experience with catering might be very different from the on-site cooking for which they are now being hired. “Maybe the food will be more fresh,” he said.