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Johns Hopkins campuses to move to self-op dining model

Dining facilities on the Homewood and Peabody Institute campuses of Johns Hopkins University will move to a self-op dining model beginning next year. The move to sepf operation is expected to provide the university with greater flexibility and oversight of its campus dining experience.

According to an official university release, Johns Hopkins’ food-service contract with the current dining vendor, Bon Appetit Management Company, began in 2013 and will continue until July 2022. Bon Appetit has long provided Johns Hopkins campus dining locations with made-from-scratch meal options that prioritize seasonal foods and locally-grown produce.

The university’s new self-op model intends to build on these same commitments, as well as seek input from students, faculty, and staff to shape new dining options. To deliver on this, the university intends to implement listening sessions, meetings with stakeholder groups, and comment cards to hone in its services over time.

Johns Hopkins is just the latest university to move its dining to the self-op model. It’s a decision that carries different costs and benefits depending on each campus’ unique dining environment, but the idea of having greater control over service seems to be a major driving factor.

“We are excited to take another step forward in improving our campus dining program,” says Alanna Shanahan, vice provost for student affairs. “With our transition to a self-operated program we have the opportunity to prioritize the student experience in our programming. We hope to both enhance our residential and retail offerings while greatly increasing the flexibly provided to our students via the meal plan.”

Other projected changes will include renovations to dining facilities, operational changes that will more fully integrate campus cafés with student meal plans, as well as a streamlining of meal plans across the Homewood and Peabody campuses. Existing hourly dining staff currently employed by Bon Appetit will be offered comparable positions under the university’s management.

“The biggest difference students will see is a better value for the cost of their meal plans,” says Ian Magowan, senior manager of dining programs for Homewood Student Affairs. “Students will get back twofold the philosophical value — in our sustainable practices and commitments to our employees — and the pure dollar value in how the food is sourced, prepared, and served.”

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