New food vendor comes to campus

Students eat at Einstein Bros. Bagels in between classes. Chartwells will offer new dining options such as Moe’s Southwest Grill, Panda Express and an updated Einstein’s. 

The university is saying goodbye to Sodexo and hello to Chartwells as the new campus food service provider.

UNA chose to sign a 10 year contract with Chartwells after reviewing three proposals from campus food service providers, including current provider Sodexo, and listening to feedback from students, faculty and staff about dining options on campus, according to an email from Assistant Vice President of Business Services Cindy Conlon.

Conlon said this change in vendors is not a negative reaction to Sodexo, but instead a chance for a new model of service.

Sodexo provided SubConnection, A&W, World of Wings and more. These places will change with the arrival of Chartwells. However, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks will stay.

Chartwells proposal offered healthy options such as local produce, hormone free food choices and a sustainability plan that included recycling and composting.

Panda Express, Moe’s Southwest Grill and an updated Einstein’s in the Guillot University Center and an artesian pizza and craft beer restaurant inside the Stone Lodge are all a part of Chartwells’ proposal.

“The Chartwells solution will provide more flexible dining plans, more dining options, innovative technology solutions to expedite services, online ordering for catering, an update to existing food venues and an addition of several new venues,” according to Conlon’s email.

The transition will be in place by June 1, according to the email.

“I think that if (Chartwells) deliver(s) on what they said they were going to bring to campus, I think it will be a better option for students,” said Student Government Association President Sarah Green. “It’s going to be hopefully better financially for the meal plans for students, and I think food options will be better.”

Chartwells seems like an interesting company, said sophomore Jessilyn Cooley.

“I don’t have many strong opinions about Sodexo leaving,” she said. “I’m happy with the food Sodexo provides, but Chartwells sounds (intriguing). As long as I’m still able to use my dining dollars, I’m good.”

Conlon said the format for meal plans have changed.

“Meals will be offered as a block instead of a weekly option,” she said. “Therefore, students will have all semester to use all of their meals instead of being restricted to a set number per week or losing meals during a week they were not on or near campus.”

Conlon said students can use the meals at some of the new venues instead of solely Towers.

One of those venues is an Outtakes Market, which will serve many “food-to-go” options and smoothies. This market will replace World of Wings, a fried chicken eatery in the Student Recreation Center, Conlon said.

“This is a wonderful idea,” said senior Sarah Baughman. “While I don’t go the SRC often, I have some who have told me they don’t like the smell of fried chicken after working out. It’s good they’re replacing it with healthier options.”

Cooley said she is excited about the healthier options.

“There’s a thing known as the Freshman 15,” she said. “I will miss places like (World of Wings), but these new places will help me eat healthier.”

Not only will there be new venues, but the meal plans have also changed, Conlon said.

“It being my first year at UNA, I wasn’t overall dissatisfied with the options we currently have, but it has it’s issues,” said freshman Dylan Rose. “I am excited, though, to see the new changes that are coming. As long as Chick-fil-A stays, I will be happy.”