Sodexo looks to renew contract with Rowan

After over a decade of serving students and staff, Sodexo’s contract is up for renewal after this spring semester.

Sodexo is now up against two other companies, Aramark and Gourmet Dining, in a bidding process to sign a new contract with Rowan.

General manager of Sodexo Tony Hall said because Rowan is a state school, the companies are required to bid for the account every 10 years.

Joe Cardona, vice president for University Relations, said that Rowan issued a request for proposals that Aramark and Gourmet Dining responded to, along with one other company that later dropped out.

Sodexo, Aramark and Gourmet Dining gave presentations to a committee and submitted financial proposals as part of the bidding process. In addition to faculty, some students will have a say in choosing a food service provider as well.

“Dean Richard Jones and a group of students will be touring nearby universities that these companies serve,” Cardona said.

According to their website, Aramark currently serves over 600 institutions including Rider University, the University of Scranton and Boston University.

Gourmet Dining is “New Jersey’s largest regional dining service company” according to their website, serving colleges primarily in North Jersey.

Sodexo signed a 10-year contract with Rowan in 2003 and received a one-year extension in 2013. Its contract, if not renewed, ends on June 30.

Hall said that Sodexo has a five-year timeline of renovations including expanding into new buildings and renovating existing locations that would be “fairly significant.” If Sodexo’s contract is renewed, the renovations would begin over the summer.

A new residents hall is going up in a couple years and we’re looking to add new dining options over there,” Hall said. Hall declined to go into specifics of the renovations because of the ongoing bidding process.

Currently, Sodexo is working on getting Il Forno reopened after an issue occurred with the gas supply of the oven.

“That actual oven is fine,” Hall said. “For some reason there’s not enough gas being supplied to run the oven. The fix is they’re going to bring in a new supply line from the street to the oven.”

Hall said they are working on getting that done and Il Forno reopened “as soon as possible.”

“Trust me, I’ve been missing the pizza as well,” Hall said.

Student opinion about the quality of food on campus varies, but the majority of students interviewed agree that there are not enough healthy options.

“If we could get a company with more of a variety and healthy options that might be nice,” said Jessica Guglielmo, a senior engineering major.

Guglielmo lives off campus and said that finding a place to eat on campus is too inconvenient with no options in the engineering building.

“The fact that I’m an engineering major, I’ll just never ever walk over [to the Student Center] just to get food,” Guglielmo said.

Like Guglielmo, junior theater major Andy Spinosi also wishes that healthier options were available, but overall is content with the food.

“They have good and bad days,” Spinosi said.

Hall said that concerns and comments from students are always welcome.

“Everything is taken into consideration in real time once we hear a concern,” Hall said. “Unless it’s a big problem and it’s something that really needs a renovation, we do what we can.”

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