Temple recently signed a 15-year contract with Aramark effective July 1, 2017, ending Sodexo’s 28 years as Temple’s food service provider. The new provider means food retailers franchised with Sodexo may change.
Retailers like Tony Luke’s and Cosi will remain university dining options because of their “loyal ties to the city and to the brand,” said Michael Scales, associate vice president for the office of Business Services. Aramark will change Sodexo’s Fresh to Go locations in Annenberg Hall and other university buildings, but what will replace them is still unclear. Aramark will also change dining hall retailers.
“The best way I can explain it is some of the retailers will remain,” Scales said.
He added that Aramark has not yet begun planning with Temple for new retailers.
“The current contract that we’re operating under with Sodexo ends on June 30, 2017,” Scales said. “At the close of business on that day, Sodexo will walk away from the job and Aramark will begin planning and preparations for new retailers on campus.”
“We will be speaking to franchise [representatives] to help with the transition,” said Vanessa Kukulski, retail manager of Cosi, a retail location on Main Campus. “Some of our current employees are unionized, so they will have the option to remain at the university.”
Drexel recently made a similar change. According to an article published in The Triangle, Drexel’s student newspaper, Sodexo will no longer manage dining services at the university effective December 10, 2016. The termination ended a 21-year partnership. They have not yet named a new food service provider, although the article said that administrators hinted Aramark would succeed Sodexo on Drexel’s campus.
Drexel’s Office of Business Services declined to comment.
“[Retailers] are going to be up to Aramark,” said Alex Brannan, president of Temple’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. Brannan, who worked with Cherry Consulting, Temple’s student-led advertising firm to promote events and engagement with student dining services.
“We can assume that they’ll be using the same spaces and adding some new ones. We worked with Sodexo to help them understand the university. If there was an opportunity to work with Aramark, we hope to go the same way.”
Scales said that Aramark’s proposal impressed the university.
“I think [it was] their overall strategy and approach to our campus and the fact that there was a true desire to want to partner with the university,” Scales said. “Their headquarters are in Philadelphia and that knowledge of the city resulted in a great response.”
“There will be a lot of communication with students and a savvy approach to the meal plan based on past trends,” he added. “I cannot talk about the financial aspect right now, but I think the overall value that the Aramark deal will have on food service across campus and on student life was very creative.”
“If we worked with Aramark, we hope to have student input on any new retail locations,” Brannan said.
“The likelihood is that we probably won’t be working with Aramark before new retailers are put in place,” said Ethan Greenstein, director of Cherry Consulting. “Aramark will do that on their own. We’re likely to have no say in what they do.”
Greenstein said members of Cherry Consulting hope to work with Aramark in the same way they have worked with Sodexo.
Kukulski was mindful of the impact the shift in retailers and employees may have on students as a result of the Aramark acquisition.
“They won’t have the familiar faces that they might be used to,” she said. “If someone, a regular, comes in here to get, say, a mocha and our current employees know them on sight and know how they take [their drink], it may be an adjustment for both of them to get used to new people that they might not know.”
Amanda Lien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @amandajlien.
Correction: This story appeared in print with Alex Brannan’s last name misspelled as Brennan. This online version has been updated to reflect the correct spelling.