Northwestern’s contracts with Sodexo up for renewal in 2018


Daily file photo by Annabel Edwards

A student peers at her laptop while eating at Fran’s Cafe, a late-night cafe run by Northwestern Dining. The University has its contracts with food service provider Sodexo up for renewal in 2018.

Rishika Dugyala, Reporter

Sodexo’s contracts with Northwestern are slated for renewal in 2018, and the University hopes to consolidate its contracts with the food service provider following the current agreement’s expiration, dining officials said.

Sodexo, a large multinational company that provides food services to many organizations, businesses and companies around the world, is the service provider for Northwestern Dining, the campus dining service. The University has three contracts with Sodexo: one with Student Affairs for the Evanston campus food outlets, one with the athletic department, and one with the Chicago campus.

“(Consolidating) would help improve transition between different areas,” Dining director Ken Field said. “We work with Athletics to allow students to use meal swipes at basketball games and football games in the concessions area, but those are really two separate entities kind of working together even though they’re both Sodexo. We try to look for ways we can find additional opportunities to expand.”

Sodexo has been a campus partner at NU for at least 20 years and provides food service for retail at Norris University Center, residential food service, food service for NU’s Chicago campus and the athletic department, said Rachel Tilghman, Sodexo’s spokesperson at NU.

As the service provider, Sodexo sets the wages and policies for NU Dining employees by negotiating directly with the workers’ union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. In addition, Sodexo employs students, allotting funds to provide opportunities for them to work as marketing or food service interns for projects, Field said.

“Working with Sodexo, we’ve got a lot of initiatives in the works for continuing to improve the services that we offer to the students at the university,” Field said. “Many times I work with a student advisory group to bounce ideas, discuss issues and try to get them to bring back feedback from the student body to help us make decisions based on what students want. And then I work with Sodexo to try to get those implemented.”

Field, an employee of NU’s Office of Student Auxiliary Services, oversees all aspects of the dining program. He started working at NU  as the university’s director of dining during Spring Quarter last year. His position was created to serve as a liaison between Sodexo and the University.​

Sodexo reports to and works under the Office of Student Auxiliary Services, which is a unit within Student Affairs that encompasses NU Dining and catering along with Residential Services, Safe Ride, and other services, said Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, the associate vice president for student affairs, in an email to The Daily.

This story has been updated to clarify Ken Field’s position at the university. Field is the director of dining.

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