Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 26, 1996

McDonald's in the Hub on hold

by Anne Dolan
Iowa State's five-year vending contract with the Memorial Union -- absent the proposal for a McDonald's in the Hub -- goes into effect today (July 26), after receiving final approval from the State Board of Regents last week.

The Memorial Union's proposal was selected from among five bids submitted in March, in part because of its commission setup and the creation of a student scholarship fund with vending revenues. Last week, ISU officials decided to postpone until fall a decision on one component of the contract, an operating agreement between the Memorial Union and McDonald's for a restaurant in the Hub.

Vice President for Business and Finance Warren Madden said the postponement will give the campus community more time to review and comment on the proposal.

"We are trying to be responsive to university needs and concerns," Madden said. "There are a number of people who feel they did not have ample opportunity to comment on this issue, and we are going to give them that time."

An estimated 100 to 120 faculty, staff and students attended a noon forum in the Maintenance Shop July 16 at which Madden fielded questions about the proposal for a McDonald's in the Hub. A majority of those who spoke at the forum expressed concern either about the lack of communication on negotiations for the new vending contract or the presence of a fried food franchise in the campus' central core.

Pending a decision on the suitability of McDonald's in the Hub, the Memorial Union will install additional vending machines in that area previously designated for a McDonald's counter.

Vending commissions
According to the contract approved by the regents, Iowa State's commission will be 20 percent of vending sales the first year, rising a percentage point each year of the five years of the contract. Those funds are distributed to departments and student groups.

In addition, the Memorial Union will give Iowa State 15 percent of its annual net operating income from snacks and other foods, to be used for student scholarships. This is expected to generate about $120,000 in scholarship funds over five years. The university will decide how the scholarship funds are distributed.

All the vending machines installed this summer are new and 87 percent of them will be equipped with ISUCard-reading equipment. Installation of food and snack machines began the week of July 8 and installation of Coca-Cola beverage machines began the week of July 15, said Tom Carver, manager of vending operations for the Memorial Union.

Carver said new machines are installed as machines owned by the former vendor, TAVCO, are removed. Some vending areas required new flooring or painting, once the old machines were removed. That has added a few days to the process.

Food carts
Also under the terms of the vending contract, the Memorial Union will provide a food cart at the College of Design, a convenience store or food cart at the College of Veterinary Medicine complex and a healthy food/drink cart at the Lied Center. Carver said details on food offerings at those locations still are being developed.

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