East Tennessee State University is ending its 23-year relationship with food service provider Aramark, a little over three years shy of the contract’s proposed end date.
According to a report from local CBS affiliate WJHL, university officials insist that Aramark did nothing wrong to prompt the early termination, but cited that the university will begin planning a student center renovation project next year, which ultimately led to the decision. University officials say the decision would allow ETSU to have a company in place from day one and throughout the planning process for the new renovation project.
The university’s relationship with Aramark started in 1992, with the most recent contract extension being signed in 2009. That agreement would have seen Aramark remain the food service provider for ETSU through 2019, but the university decided to trigger a clause in the contract that would allow for early termination on June 30, 2016 at no cost.
University officials say the decision will enable ETSU to review and examine as many proposals as possible from different food service agencies. ETSU plans on sending out requests for proposals in January for the project, but it must be noted that Aramark has the same opportunity as other providers, will be considered, and could yet be selected again as ETSU’s food service provider. ETSU expects to select its food service provider by May.
“Aramark greatly values our long-standing relationship with the university and we are very proud of our employees and the service we provide to the campus community,” says Karen Cutler, vice president of Aramark Corporate Communications. “We look forward to providing a competitive proposal to the upcoming Request for Proposals issued by the university.”
Over the past 11 months, ETSU reports Aramark sales exceeded $5.47 million with costs and expenses at $5.19 million. ETSU reports Aramark’s operating profit for that time period was $286,640.