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MSU bags new food contract

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The Missouri State University Board of Governors at its April 1 meeting selected dining services management company Chartwells for a 10-year contract to serve food at its campus facilities.

The Chartwells contract brings to an end MSU's longtime stint with provider Sodexo, said Earle Doman, MSU vice president of student affairs and dean of students.

Doman managed the selection process, which started about a year ago. Three companies submitted proposals - Sodexo, Chartwells and Aramark - he said, noting that he and a selection committee spoke with and visited other campuses where the food service providers were contracted to get a feel for how they operate.

The committee - which consisted of MSU controller Steve Foucart; Thomas Lane, director of Plaster Student Union; a hospitality and restaurant administration faculty member; and two students - also looked at the candidates' menu quality, performance methods, experience, reliability and financial considerations, among others, Doman said.

An important step in the review process, Doman said, was getting the "thumbs up" from MSU's administrative council.

"I thought that was really important because Dr. (James) Cofer, (MSU president), came from an institution that had Aramark. He was very pleased with them," Doman said, noting Cofer wanted to make sure that proper procedure was followed in obtaining the most fitting agreement for MSU.

Chartwells, which is set to take over May 16, signed a 10-year contract with the possibility of three one-year renewals, said Dave Yurchak, MSU senior buyer of procurement services.

He said Chartwells would bring roughly $29 million in capital investment to MSU and, in turn, would receive a return on that investment through the cost of student meal plans.

About $3 million of that investment would go toward an expansion and renovation of MSU's Garst Dining Center, which Doman said is scheduled to take place in summer 2012.

Sodexo's most recent contract of 10 years comes to an end May 15, Yurchak said, noting that its capital investment for the latest year was approximately $5 million.

Doman said Chartwells has committed to continuing employment for Sodexo's hourly employees, adding that Sodexo is in discussion with its MSU managers and that he "wouldn't be surprised if some of the management staff accepted employment with Chartwells."

Chartwells is owned by Charlotte, N.C.-based Compass Group North America, a subsidiary of Compass Group PLC, of the United Kingdom.[[In-content Ad]]

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