Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
August 28, 1998

Input sought on food service merger proposal

by Anne Dolan

Customers of either of the two food services on campus -- run by the residence system and the Memorial Union -- still have about two weeks to respond to a proposal to merge the two operations. Vice presidents Warren Madden (business and finance) and Tom Hill (student affairs) have requested input by Sept. 15; they expect to make a recommendation to President Martin Jischke by Oct. 1.

As reported in Inside last May, a consultant team has recommended that the university merge the two food services. The consultants believe a merger would most efficiently respond to the changing expectations of students, employees, visitors and outside users for more food service options around campus and greater flexibility to use them. Three other scenarios the consultants identified, but didn't recommend, are:

Madden said input to the proposal has been fairly light during the summer months.

"We are pleased that some major users have responded to our request for feedback," he said, "but we'd like to receive more comments. We're receptive to those."

Copies of the report went to all of the university's constituent groups last May, he said, with a request for comments.

Madden and Hill requested the study a year ago as part of a broader review of food operations on campus, including the residence department's master plan, campus vending operations, food service at the Iowa State Center, changing eating patterns by ISU students and employees and their interest in having more options in more locations across campus.

The consultants predict that, initially, consolidating the two food services wouldn't eliminate positions because both departments are "lean" in staffing, overall. Eventually, improving operations and reorganizing duplicate services could result in cost savings. ISU officials believe any staff reductions could be absorbed through attrition.

Comments on dining options, vending operations or catering services may be sent to Madden, 125 Beardshear, wmadden@iastate. edu; or Hill, 311 Beardshear,, by Sept. 15. Copies of the consultants' report are available in both offices, the residence department and Memorial Union, and through student and staff constituent groups.

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