The University of Toronto’s downtown campus is plotting a move that will discontinue its partnership with current food-service provider, Aramark, and instead will see the university self-manage most of its on-campus dining service.
According to a report from CityNews, as the University of Toronto was approaching the end of its food service contract with Aramark in 2013, the university embarked on an RFP process to solicit proposals from food service providers that could identify ways in which things could be done differently. The decision followed a growing displeasure amongst students with what was believed to be increasingly expensive, low-quality food options.
Upon concluding the RFP process, the university partnered with Chartwells, placing a greater emphasis on purchasing local, seasonal produce, among other changes.
With new partner Chartwells, the move will centralize most of Toronto’s downtown campus food operations and see a main kitchen provide fresh food to some of the campus’ retail outlets that don’t have kitchens of their own. University officials say the move is intended, in part, to see on-campus food locations not rely as heavily on pre-packaged food.
“It’s hard for schools to make such a dramatic shift from a system they’ve relied on for a decade or longer,” said chef Joshna Maharaj, in an interview with CityNews. Maharaj consults with universities and colleges on menu changes. “But the major food-service providers know that educational and other institutions, like hospitals, are starting to follow consumer demands.”