Once again, a contract for food services at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga (UTM) campus has been awarded to Chartwells. The company’s contract with the university extends to 2020.
The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) posted the announcement on their Facebook page, where students expressed their displeasure in the comments.
“I am not particularly optimistic,” said Siddharth Singh, president of UTM’s English and Drama Student Society. “[While] they have guaranteed a price freeze at 2014-2015 levels, the prices remain steep. Vegetarian options don’t seem to feature on their list of priorities. Also, ordering food on campus will still be enormously expensive for clubs and societies, forcing us to order from other caterers and host our events in the Student Centre only.”
“In spite of many students being unhappy with Chartwells, the university still chose to renew a contract with the company,” said Sugandha Bajaj, a student at UTM. Bajaj expressed her concerns that the new contract did not seem much improved from the old one: “barely any time increases were added to the schedule for food places despite many students complaining that there is a need for food places to be open later.”
The president of the UTMSU, Ebi Agbeyegbe, did not respond to requests for comment.
Andrea De Vito, assistant director of UTM’s Retail Services and Administration, expressed enthusiasm for the new contract. “Our new food service contract capitalizes on the Community’s calls for more diverse and healthy food options, improved customer service, and an increased focus on sustainability initiatives,” she wrote in an email to The Varsity. According to De Vito, the contract includes accountability measures which will ensure immediate, and decisive action should Chartwells waver in meeting their obligations.
“We look forward to partnering with Chartwells to deliver an exceptional food service program here at the UTM,” De Vito said.
Kaizen Foodservice Planning & Design Inc. renewed Chartwells’ contract for the next five years effective June 1, 2015 , after being tasked with a consulting project to determine if a self-operated food service was feasible at UTM and if not, to develop a food service contract for the successful bidder.
Once Kaizen’s development phase and evaluation process were complete, it was brought to the Food Service Advisory Committee for further authentication. After a 16-month process, the new services contract was granted to Chartwells.
The new contract expires on May 31, 2020, meaning this contract has a shorter period than the previous contract. Chartwells is bound to pay 17.5 per cent of its net sales to UTM monthly, and the revenue from food truck programs will be split evenly with UTM. Chartwells has also agreed to freeze the prices for the 2016–2017 contract year.