Sodexo discusses retail dining, to-go boxes

Sodexo Operations Manager Rebecca Diamond sat down with SGA and talked food.

During a Nov. 19 SGA meeting Diamond told members she met with university affairs representative Aaron Gottman to discuss the future of dining on campus. In addition to discussing dining, Diamond announced that Sodexo Manager Chris Briggs will be retiring after this semester.

Sodexo has been negotiating with several businesses to replace Burger King and/or Archie’s Pizzeria.

“We have been in the talks with Steak ‘n’ Shake,” Diamond said. “That would go in place of Archie’s Pizzeria … nothing has been signed yet.”

She said the process of determining retail dining is a lengthy one.

“Chick-Fil-A is, of course, the one everyone wants where Burger King is,” Diamond said. “Some of our corporate people are going to meet here on Dec. 8 and hopefully then we will know something more as far as talks with Chick-Fil-A.”

Steak ‘n’ Shake representatives will also be on campus Dec. 8, and Diamond hopes an agreement will be signed on that date.

Diamond said Sodexo is looking at offering sushi, probably in a Simply To-Go unit. Sodexo is also considering more fish options.

“There are healthy options everywhere—except maybe Archie’s—but there are healthy options,” Diamond said. “You just have to look for them.”

Diamond said Sodexo will start using a “mindful program.” There will be a specific logo to identify mindful, or healthy, meal choices to make it easier for students watching nutrition.

As for pizza delivery from within campus, Diamond said Archie’s Pizzeria hasn’t been successful.

“It’s operating successfully,” she said, “but they’re just not getting a lot of business out of it.”

Since a business, likely Steak ‘n’ Shake, will replace Archie’s in the University Center, pizza delivery would no longer happen within campus and could be moved back to the C-Store.

She also addressed the OZZI system and the newly implemented recyclable to-go boxes.

Diamond said because the tokens within the system can be hard to keep track of, especially over breaks, Sodexo is working on a way to keep that to-go box token on student accounts instead of relying solely on a physical token.

SGA members brought up the idea of having OZZI machines in the dorms for freshmen who take food back to their rooms.

“We try to keep it all as close to the (dishwashing) unit as possible. I don’t know how often we would be able to send a person out there to collect the containers, and once it’s full, it won’t take any more,” Diamond said.

She said a machine costs around $15,000.

“As for getting one in the residence halls, perhaps in the future,” Diamond said, “but not in the near future.”

After the meeting representative Aaron Gottman said when he met with Diamond Nov. 18, he asked about changes Sodexo could make and tried to play “devil’s advocate.”

“I heard a student ambassador during a tour (say) that the only healthy food on campus is Cyclone Salads,” Gottman said. “I thought that was really negative.”

Gottman hopes that by creating discussion between students and Sodexo, more students will talk positively about food on campus and then increase Sodexo’s sales.

“Sodexo definitely cares about their own profits because they are a business,” Gottman said. “They do care about students, but they have to accommodate themselves.”