The Food Service Selection Committee and Hopkins Dining announced that Bon Appetit Management Company is to replace Aramark as the new dining provider on the Homewood Campus. Aramark’s seven-year contract with Hopkins expires at the end of the semester, and Bon Appetit will begin operating Homewood dining venues during the summer term.
Bon Appetit was selected after substantial research and a thorough review of numerous company proposals.
“Though on-campus dining has improved tremendously over the past couple of years, I feel like the general consensus has been that students are still a bit disappointed,” Alex Schupper, Executive Vice President of SGA, said. “Obviously, we didn’t want to settle for something our community isn’t happy with.”
Bon Appétit is an onsite restaurant company that provides food services to corporations, such as Google and Starbucks, as well as colleges and universities. With over 500 locations in 32 states, the company is growing in popularity among college and university campuses. Other institutions that use Bon Appetit include Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern College and Santa Clara University.
Throughout this past semester, the Food Service Selection Committee met continuously to review proposals as well as to visit different colleges and examine their facilities.
“We went to Goucher, which also uses Bon Appetit, and the dining experience was amazing,” Schupper said. “They have an awesome program.”
Bon Appetit prides itself on its commitment to quality, health and culinary expertise. It prepares all of its food from scratch and uses fresh seasonal ingredients.
“The company is really big on sustainability and local produce, which were important considerations during the selection process,” Schupper said. “They are very against outsourcing, and all of their ingredients come from farms that [are] specifically designated for Bon Appetit usage.”
Bon Appetit is also highly dedicated to making socially responsible purchasing decisions and engaging in fair trade. They pay close attention to nutrition factors and strive to offer a wide variety of menu options.
“It’s true that our current dining facilities don’t have a lot of variety,” Schupper said. “Bon Appetit is going to have a lot more options, especially for students with specialty diets like gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and kosher.”
Bon Appetit even talked about the possibility of having a live sushi chef in Nolan’s.
The switch from Aramark to Bon Appetit will affect all on-campus dining locations, including the FFC, Charmar, Nolan’s and Levering.
“Any material renovations that occur will be small,” Schupper said.
The layout of food stations in the dining halls may change. Einstein’s, because it is contracted with Aramark, will be replaced by a new café within Charmar.
“Bon Appetit really wants to increase the number of upperclassmen who purchase meal plans by focusing on the quality of the food,” Schupper said.
If the quality of food improves, and on-campus options become better than off-campus ones, then more people will want to buy a meal plan to use the dining halls.
“Ultimately, we want our on-campus facilities to have the best food with the most options,” he said.
Schupper also hopes that introducing Bon Appetit will make dining more centralized on campus. He believes that better dining halls will give all students, regardless of class, another reason to go on campus, and that having more students on campus will promote greater community bonding.
“If you have people congregating around the dining halls just because the food is great and the atmosphere is fun, then that will really foster increased social interaction on campus.”
Schupper envisions that by 2015, students will really see the full impact of Bon Appetit.
“I think that this can really change the face of Hopkins,” he said. “It’s going to be awesome.”
In the past, Hopkins has been known for below average dining options, but Schupper hopes that with Bon Appetit on-campus dining will not have as negative a connotation.
“Ten years ago, before the FFC, Hopkins probably had the worst dining program in the country. But now it’s a million times better, and I think that switching to Bon Appetit will further that positive development.”