Duke Picks ARAMARK for Food

Duke University has selected ARAMARK Corp., a managed services company based in Philadelphia, to operate food services at eight campus dining locations, including the two largest, the Great Hall on West Campus and the Marketplace on East.

The five-year agreement, to become effective July 1, represents the university's final move toward the privatization of campus eateries under the oversight of Duke's Dining Services. Other privately operated dining facilities on campus will remain under separate management.

"This partnership bodes well for students, faculty and staff," said Duke Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III. "ARAMARK brings the resources, food service training and culinary leadership that will ensure the dining experience at Duke remains at the forefront of colleges and universities across the nation. This agreement guarantees dining services financial stability for the next five to 10 years and protects the employment of our current work force."

In addition to the Great Hall and Marketplace, ARAMARK will manage food services at the Faculty Commons, Oak Room, Breyer's Ice Cream Shop, Cambridge Inn including Chick-fil-A, Freeman Center for Jewish Life and Trinity CafeThe company also will operate University Catering.

Plans are under way to complete some minor changes in the Great Hall and East Marketplace for the fall. Significant renovations in the Oak Room began in early May.

"ARAMARK will be a driving influence with the development of new and creative menu items in the Oak Room, Great Hall and East Marketplace,"said Jim Wulforst, Duke's dining director. "I'm looking forward expanding our current menu and expect the Duke community to be very pleased with all the proposed changes."

Other independent dining facilities will continue to operate on campus, including McDonald's, Armadillo Grill, Alpine Bagels, Alpine Atrium, The Loop, The Perk, Blue Express in the Levine Science and Research Center, Sanford Deli in the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, JD's in the Law School and Grace's Cafen Trent Hall.

"The students and administration at Duke have chosen us and we won't disappoint," said Jack Donovan, president of ARAMARK. "I've given the Duke community my guarantee that quality and customer satisfaction will improve and we will work together to forge an outstanding relationship."

Donovan, who graduated from Duke in 1980, said students will be "full partners" in the new food services and will have ongoing input into design, environment, menu, prices and performance evaluation.

"It has always been my goal to serve high quality food that is competitively priced and served in a friendly, customer focused fashion and ARAMARK will help us do just that," Wulforst said.

Joe Pietrantoni, associate vice president for Auxiliary Services, said there will be no layoffs as a result of the change. Employees belonging to Local 77 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and non-union bi-weekly supervisors will remain on the Duke payroll. He said some clerical and accounting functions will change and managers with fewer than 10 years of service will transfer to ARAMARK.

"We have approached this partnership to ensure that employees have more opportunity through training and upward mobility options," Pietrantoni said.

The union has supported the change and Duke Student Government endorsed the plan in March by a 36-10 vote.

Leading the ARAMARK operation at Duke will be David Randolph, a 22-year veteran of the food service industry. He most recently worked for ARAMARK at Furman University and also has worked at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Previously, he was general manager of The Black-Eyed Pea restaurants in Atlanta.