Inside Iowa State
December 10, 1999
Study on merger of campus food services continues
by Anne Krapfl
Work continues on Iowa State's plan to merge two key food service providers on campus, the residence department's dining/catering service and the Memorial Union's food operations. Last summer President Martin Jischke accepted the recommendation of vice presidents Tom Hill (student affairs) and Warren Madden (business and finance) to merge the two. Jischke asked them to come up with a plan by June for how to accomplish the merger.
A merged food service is intended to respond to several needs expressed by students, employees and visitors at Iowa State:
- Desire for better quality and varieties of food, flexibility in hours and more campus locations (especially on the north side).
- Among residence hall students, desire for meal "portability" (i.e., their food contracts would be honored at multiple campus food locations).
- Desire for more "presentation" style food preparation and fewer cafeteria lines.
- Better efficiency and higher quality by coordinating such duplicated services as bakeries and catering.
Madden said he and Hill have assembled a campus advisory group and also are working with the two consulting groups involved in the initial campus food study in 1997, Thomas Ricca Associates and the Cornyn Fasano Group. They have met with employee groups from the Memorial Union and residence food services to answer questions and solicit ideas.
"A majority of the people agree consolidation is the right decision," Madden said. "The concerns are about what the right management structure is for Iowa State."
Madden said they still are studying two models for the reorganization:
Madden said he and Hill have visited several campuses already that use one of the two models. They plan to visit more schools with the advising group.
- Contract with a major food service company (examples are ARAMARK or Marriott) to provide the service at Iowa State. At other schools that have selected this option, food service employees typically have the option to remain university employees or become employees of the contracting company, Madden said.
- Conduct a national search to hire a director and create the new unit internally.
In the meantime, the consultants will present their recommendations for the merger, probably sometime in January. Madden said those recommendations will be shared publicly and members of the campus community will be asked to comment. Following that process, Madden and Hill will prepare their recommendation for Jischke.
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