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Temple seeking new food-service vendor

Temple University is in the throws of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to find either a new food-service provider or continue with long-time partner, Sodexo.

Per a report from Temple News, the university’s contract with Sodexo is set to expire at the end of the spring semester, and the decision has been made to consider bids from other food service providers. Sodexo currently provides food services across the Temple campus everywhere that meal swipe are accepted. Temple’s most recent ten-year, nearly $24 million contract will officially expire in June 2017.

Temple’s Office of Business Services issued a request for proposals during the summer, with the university’s Purchasing Department to make a decision sometime next month. Five companies participated in the RFP process, including Sodexo, Compass and Aramark.

Per the report, Temple provided two broad criteria in their request for proposals: service to students and financial return to the university. As it relates to student satisfaction, Sodexo already conducts focus groups, customer satisfaction surveys, and works with Temple’s student-run marketing consulting team to determine student needs.

While the RFP process will open Temple’s eyes to other available options, the best course of action may be to take no action at all. Temple currently serves an estimated 3,500 off-campus meal plans, a figure that Sodexo’s resident district manager believes is one of the highest numbers in the country and proof that students want to eat on campus.

Other vendors will likely give similar pitches, but Sodexo believes that it holds an advantage in that it can break ground on proposed campus dining renovations sooner than its competitors. Part of Sodexo’s vision at Temple includes the opening of a new rec center next year, a new library in two years, and longer term, a potential football stadium — all projects that would include spaces to sell food.

Sodexo provides dining services for 17 locations across three of Temple’s campuses and has been Temple’s provider for 28 years.

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