U of M switches dining service providers after student concerns

After concerns from students were brought up in recent years, the University of Minnesota is officially switching dining service providers.

Earlier this month, the university’s Board of Regents approved a $15 million contract with Compass Group USA’s Chartwells Division to take over food service operations for dining services in the Twin Cities from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2032.

Aramark Educational Services had handled the university’s dining services since 2008, but a growing number of students began expressing concerns about the company’s business operations and dining quality in recent years, even starting an online petition urging the university to change food service providers. Key issues that were brought up included inclusive dietary options, hours of operation, the ethics and corporate responsibility of Aramark not lining up with the university, as well as food variety.

Last fall, the university said campus leaders had taken a semester to get community input and conduct a thorough review of current operations. The university noted it met regularly with a Student Advisory Committee, and ultimately determined finding a new dining services provider was the best move. Chartwells was selected after the university received three proposals, according to Board of Regents meeting documents.

With the change, around 100 Aramark employees will be laid off at the end of May, according to a notice filed with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The notice states that the affected employees are expected to be given a chance to work for Chartwells.