Bidding begins for USF dining facility vendors

Aramark, the company that manages all dining facilities on campus, is in the final year of its current contract with USF, and the bidding process has already begun for the University’s next contract.

Assistant Vice President of Campus Business Services Jeffrey Mack said in an email to The Oracle that the current contract began Aug. 16, 2002, and expires in August 2012. This semester, the University issued an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for interested vendors.

The University’s food vendor manages aspects of food served on campus, from providing the food itself to offering equipment used to cook it.

“(It’s) to solicit proposals from food service providers for consideration through a competitive bid process,” Mack said. “An agreement will be executed with the awarded food provider.

“Proposals have not yet been submitted,” he said. “Since the ITN process is a competitive bid process, we are not able to discuss any part of the process or proposers until it is completed.”

According to the Purchasing and Property Services website, all proposals must be submitted to the University by Nov. 9 at 3 p.m.

The ITN, which is 86 pages long, states that potential vendors must “provide the most current available technology” and “must disclose with their ITN the name of any officer, director or agent who is also an employee of the University” to avoid conflicts of interest.

Before Aramark, USF’s dining facilities provider was Sodexho Marriott Services.

The new contract will begin Aug. 1, 2012, and end June 30, 2017, “with optional renewals not to exceed a full contract term of 15 years,” according to the ITN.

Mack said the current agreement with Aramark includes a five-year base term and a five-year renewal, yet the company can still bid for the new contract.

The University has also “granted Aramark the rights of operation for the sale and service of foods, drinks and products on the Tampa campus in various locations and venues,” he said. “Aramark pays rent to the University for use of the food service facilities on campus.”

Mack said, under the current agreement, Aramark must provide provisions such as food menus and cleaning responsibilities.

“The (bid) process will … likely be completed in January or February of 2012,” he said. “Any potential transition would be arranged through the awarded provider, current provider and the University.”

Karen Cutler, director of communications at Aramark, said in an email to The Oracle that the terms and conditions of the contract will be determined by the University.

She said Aramark retains 98 percent of its clients and currently serves more than 600 colleges and universities across the nation.