BETH HANSON, News Editor
Beloit College announced last Wednesday that Bon Appetit will begin managing food service in mid-June, bringing in seven new employees.
Dean of Students Christina Klawitter said, “The task force’s recommendation was unanimous. Once we decided self-operating wasn’t in our best interest, Bon Appetit was the obvious choice.”
If food service had stayed internal, Klawitter said that change would have been slow. Bon Appetit stood out to the task force because of their passion for food and their role as an industry leader in sustainability.
In his Stuboard announcement, President Bierman said, “In Bon Appetit, the task force saw a provider with a proven track record of serving high quality, healthy and responsible meals on campuses like ours, as well as a company with a commitment to doing this work in a way that harnesses—and respects—the individual talents and roles of those who plan, prepare and deliver those meals.”
Before it was announced to the entire campus, Klawitter met with food service to inform them of the decision. There was a range of reactions from unsurprised to happy to nervous.
All employees will transition to Bon Appetit, retaining current or better wages and Bon Appetit’s benefits. Current food service employees will retain tuition benefits, but the seven food service staff members who will be brought in will not be eligible for the tuition benefit.
Bon Appetit tends to bring in some more management staff, but it has not yet been determined what role they will play. Students will still be employed as they currently are through work study.
Since the public announcement, Klawitter has only received five emails from students about the choice of Bon Appetit.
“All of them have been supportive,” she said. “The only emails that weren’t like that asked how we’d feed students over the summer.”
Since renovations will take place over the summer, food service will have to be “creative” and “flexible” on how to feed students who are on campus this summer.
Bierman also said, “We set the bar high. And we have reason to believe Bon Appetit will meet and exceed these aspirations.”
Bon Appetit’s food preparation method is to cook meals from scratch without using pre-packaged items. They also have a company standard that 20 percent of food must come from a local market. If students express interest, Bon Appetit is open to working with students to expand the campus garden.
In addition to improving the look and taste of food, Bon Appetit will begin changing dining spaces. The biggest change that will be made before Fall 2012 will be in Commons. Java Joint and DK’s will also be updated. Due to pending plans from the Commission on Space Use Planning, Klawitter said, “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to do deep renovations to DK’s and Java until we know.”
C-Haus will remain under control of students, with Bon Appetit supervising the way food is purchased and prepped.
Meal plans will come in two “price points”—two options of price range. Each price will have three options within it; each option has varying amounts of meal swipes and flex dollars. Meal swipes can be used in Commons, while flex dollars can be used in DK’s, Java Joint and, potentially, C-Haus. Specific prices and options have not yet been set.
The new food service program is expected to cost more in future years, but fees for the 2012-13 school year will not change. Stay tuned to the Terrarium and Round Table for details as they develop.