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University transitions to new campus food provider

By Fabian Mayer, July 16 2015 —

Students will notice different food options on campus when they return to classes this fall. The University of Calgary is transitioning between food service providers after Aramark replaced Chartwells in the spring.

Aramark will be responsible for the dining centre, some catering and numerous retail locations across campus. Associate director of food and conference services Jill Blackie said the transition has been smooth so far.

“It’s a very complex transition after you’ve had one company for 10 years,” Blackie said. “It’s gone extremely well.”

Blackie said the most challenging part is ensuring people formerly employed by Chartwells are able to continue working on campus.

“We really wanted to make sure that all of those people were well looked after,” Blackie said. “I’m really proud to say that there were less than five people who we didn’t absorb.”

Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance Sarah Pousette recently met with an Aramark representative to outline student concerns.

“We talked a lot about how hot halal options need to be available everywhere on campus,” Pousette said. “The other thing we talked about is having students being able to know what’s really in their food.”

Pousette said they also discussed the importance of longer hours and more variety in the dining centre, where the majority of students living in residence have meal plans.

Blackie said she was excited about Aramark’s planned offerings, though she was not yet able to discuss them in detail.

“Many of the items that students, staff and faculty asked for are going to be represented,” Blackie said.

She said halal options will be made more available and that renovations of a few retail locations will begin soon.

“We’re hoping that the majority of locations are all open for the first day of classes,” Blackie said. “We have a couple of challenges with certain locations, but that’s the goal.”

Aramark is also the SU’s main competitor for catering on campus. Pousette said she hasn’t noticed differences in sales of the SU’s services so far but that she doesn’t have issues with the competition.

“It encourages us to provide really good food,” Pousette said.

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