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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Jan. 13, 2006

Food service bids

Evaluation team hopes to make recommendation next month

by Anne Krapfl

The 22-member food service evaluation team is working toward a Feb. 10 goal to wrap up its work and share recommendations with vice presidents Tom Hill (student affairs) and Warren Madden (business and finance).

Four proposals to provide food services on the Iowa State campus were received by the Dec. 16 deadline. ISU Dining, which currently manages food services, submitted a proposal. The other three bids were submitted by companies that provide food services on other campuses: ARAMARK Campus Services, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.; the Chartwells division of Compass Group USA, Charlotte, N.C.; and Sodexho Operations, Williamsburg, Va.

The bids include service to residence dining centers, vending machines, retail cafes, convenience stores, catering and the Memorial Union food court. They do not include concessions at Jack Trice Stadium or Hilton Coliseum, and Hazel's Kitchen at Reiman Gardens, which have separate management contracts.

The evaluation process will include a collective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the proposals and comparisons among them. It also will include reference checks with universities under contract with the bidders as well as universities that chose to end their contracts with them. It will include discussions with representatives from each bidding unit to get questions answered. And it may include site visits toward the end of the evaluation process, if visits would assist in the evaluation.

The evaluation team's meetings are not open to the public, following ISU Purchasing's standard procedure for bid review for other kinds of services and products. Associate director of purchasing Nancy Brooks, who is helping coordinate the evaluation process, said team members will consider many variables in their evaluation, including: past financial performance and proposed financial arrangements, innovation and ability to improve dining options at ISU, quality of products and service, reputation and track record for delivering what is proposed, staffing proposals, proposed renovation and new food/dining projects, and any capital investments in Iowa State, among others.

"Some may think this process is taking a long time, but this is a very compressed timeline for this volume of work," Brooks said.

The Duffy Wilkie Group, San Francisco-based consultants that Iowa State hired last summer to help develop the Request for Proposals for food services and assist in evaluating bids, is working on a financial analysis of the four proposals. Those findings will be shared with the evaluation team later this month.

The proposals, except for proprietary information, are available for review at the Administrative Services Building. Contact Cory Harms, assistant director of purchasing, 4-2591, to make an appointment to look at the bids.


The evaluation of the four food service proposals will include a strengths/weaknesses assessment, reference calls, discussions with company representatives, financial analysis and, possibly, visits to other university campuses.