Sodexo is new UNK campus dining services provider

Chartwells, which provided dining services to UNK for 20 years, has been replaced by Sodexo. The new food service provider began transitioning staff and business functions last month and officially takes over operations today. (Photo by Corbey R. Dorsey, UNK Communications)

KEARNEY – Upon University of Nebraska Board of Regents approval, Sodexo becomes the dining services provider today for the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The five-year contract proposal was evaluated by a campus committee from among two bidders. The winning Sodexo proposal keeps overall costs, services and meal plans to students the same while maintaining the current retail locations and “dining dollars” that are popular with UNK students.

Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and Subway food court locations remain as part of UNK dining services under the new provider and contract.

The contract was approved per board policy under an emergency provision and will be reported as part of the official board record at the June 28 NU Board of Regents meeting.

Chartwells, doing business as Compass Group USA Inc., had provided dining services to UNK for 20 years. Last fall Chartwells sought renegotiation of the contract’s financial terms, and on Feb. 13 Chartwells notified UNK that it would terminate the existing contract.

Dining services proposals following a formal request for proposal process were evaluated by students, staff, business and operations professionals. Pending a final contract, UNK Business Services, Chartwells and Sodexo last month began a transition of the staff and business functions to ensure there was no break in services to UNK.

The five-year contract is worth $24 million. Sodexo has offered positions to virtually all existing Chartwells employees and is making final assignments of its Kearney leadership team.

“We look forward to our new partnership with Sodexo and are pleased that these valued employees that consider themselves part of the UNK family have been placed in positions to continue working with us,” said Jon Watts, vice chancellor of business and finance. “We believe our campus stakeholders, and most importantly students, will find the quality food and service they deserve at their UNK home, at good prices.”

Students will be updated prior to the fall on meal plan options, said Watts. Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Subway are closed during the summer, although Starbucks will open and operate for minimal hours on days when UNK hosts its New Student Enrollment events.

Sodexo was founded in 1966 in France and has headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The company employs 160,000 people at 13,000 locations across the United States. Sodexo serves many sectors, including private corporations, government agencies, schools, hospitals, military bases and prisons.