Bon Appétit to become Denison’s new dining service provider

Denison University today has announced its new dining service provider, Bon Appétit.

The firm will replace current provider Sodexo, providing a completely different style of dining experience to the campus starting July 1. Sodexo, which has been on campus for more than 20 years, will ends its contract with the university on June 30.

Bon Appétit is a professional provider of café, dining and catering services for not only colleges, but also corporations in the country. Their clients include Adidas, Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Starbucks, as well as several schools such as American University, Duke University, Hamilton College, and schools close to Denison such as Oberlin College and Otterbein University. DePauw also selected Bon Appétit as its new provider last month. A list of its provider can be found from its website.

‘I am really excited about Bon Appétit, and so are our students,” says President Dale T. Knobel. Vice President of Finance and Management Seth Patton agrees, “Bon Appétit is the best fit for our college.”

“It’s good to undertake the change, for the sake of change itself, and I think we went about this the right way,” explains Knobel of the process for review of college’s dining services. “We explored a wide range of firms and sent out people to visit campuses, as well as bring them on campus for presentations. We thought we had really good alternatives.”

These candidates – including Sodexo – all proposed the focus on locally produced food, healthy and nutritional diet, as well as creative changes to the current dining experience. “Bon Appétit distinguished itself from the others on the basis of an established and consistent track record across all of their accounts for many years,” says Patton.

The final decision was made by the college’s top stakeholders, including Dale Knobel, president; Laurel Kennedy, vice president of student development; Seth Patton, vice president of finance and management; Julie Houpt, vice president of institutional advancement; and Perry Robinson, vice president and director of admissions. The research process included many other committees with student’s presence.

The firm’s regional supervisor Janice Moore also made her first visit to campus today after the decision is made. “We are excited about the opportunity and the partnership,” says Moore. Bon Appétit’s representatives will be on campus next Monday to Wednesday to answer questions from faculty and staff.

“Our best qualities include cooking from scratch, authentic flavors, and food platforms,” says Janie Moore, Bon Appetit’s regional supervisor. “We also don’t have ‘cycle’ menus, all ingredients are fresh and local to us. Our chefs are culinarians, most of whom have restaurant backgrounds and are really passionate about food.”

“Sodexo’s current arrangement with Denison University is no longer tenable, and therefore Denison University made the decision to end the contract with the Sodexo following the 2012-2013 academic year,” shares Niles Gebele, general manager of Denison’s current provider Sodexo.

A big concern for not only the school but also for its student is the dining staff’s fate. No official policy is decided on; however, both Moore and Gebele, as well as President Knobel, say all parties will work towards the best for employees. “Sodexo is committed to our employees and we will provide assistance and support during this transition. We wish the students, staff, administration and the entire Denison University community continued success,” says Gebele.

Before the firm’s official start on July 1, Sodexo will continue to serve the campus and transition the process to Bon Appétit.

Student board and dining hall pricing, as well as student flex-dollar plans, will remain intact as already announced for the next academic year.

“I am very happy about it, I think it is a good choice that Denison made and sad that I won’t be around for it,” says Emma Sullivan, a senior creative writing major from Australia. “It is about time Denison did something like this, students are going to be very happy about it. It is great that they are sustainable too. We are going in the right direction.”