Finding the Right Campus Food Service Operator


A college with campuses in two cities was building a new, state-of-the-art campus center, including a dining hall and casual retail café, on its main campus.  The dining facility at its smaller campus is just two years old.


College administrators weren’t satisfied with the services provided by its food service contractor, especially perceived non-responsiveness on the part of the district manager and regional vice president.  They weren’t confident the contractor would perform well in the new fod service facilities.


We identified five contractors, in addition to the incumbent, as candidates for the new contract.  We prepared and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) and worked with the college’s selection committee to identify the three companies whose proposals most closely matched the college’s expectations.  We participated with the committee in interviewing the three “finalists” and prepared an operating contract in collaboration with the college’s attorney.  The decision came down to a choice between two companies.  In negotiations, one company proved more willing to accept the college’s terms and standards and introduced a well-qualified on-campus manager.  It was awarded the contract.


The college had the ability to chose among all the food service contractors who were qualified to   operate its food service programs.  Our processes enabled administrators to narrow their choices down to the most qualified company.  We negotiated an operating contract that protects the college’s interests, permits the contractor to earn a reasonable profit and lays the groundwork for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

For additional information, contact Tom Mac Dermott, FCSI, Clarion Group, 603/642-8011,