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Students, Representatives Discuss Aramark & IPFW After One Semester

Written by: Communicator StaffJanuary 23, 2016

Written by Bernadette Becker

One semester after the implementation of a new food service at IPFW,  students and Aramark representatives have offered a variety of opinions about the new partnership and how the services have developed at IPFW.

Cyndy Elick, director of purchasing and support services at IPFW, was a key player in the process of finding a food service to meet the needs of IPFW. It is an ongoing process of getting feedback and figuring out the needs of the students, she said.

In order to do this, a survey has been posted. There is a food service survey available on student’s ‘myipfw’ site on the upper left hand column. Students can share what they desire from their food service or what has been less than desirable on this survey.

Elick said, “[Aramark] need[s] to let people know, they are making changes” in response to student comments about price and variety. Elick noted that she is encouraging Aramark to add vegan and gluten free options for students.

Moreover, cost was the main factor for most students when asked their opinions about the food service.

Elick said that the cost of many items have been reduced, particularly the ‘grab n’ go’ options. She is also working with Aramark to pursue flat pricing for the salad bar rather than the pay-by-weight paradigm used now.

Joanna Boulanger, district manager for Aramark Food Services, said in a phone interview,  Aramark is trying to learn a balance of “menu options but still [retaining] quality,” to meet the needs of IPFW’s students, faculty and staff. Boulanger elaborated that in a new partnership there is experimentation and then “waiting to see what happens.” She encouraged patrons to use the services they want to continue, so as to give data to Aramark of what programs to continue and what to expand or reduce.

“We’ve added some tofu to cooked order options,” said Boulanger.

Ingredient lists are currently unavailable to the public but are in the works, according to Boulanger, once there is a better understanding of what students want on the menu.

“[You’re] always welcome to ask [about ingredients],” said Boulanger, who went on to explain that Aramark has more to juggle than a traditional restaurant since the menu for Aramark changes every three weeks with alterations.

Aramark, which had a decent opening month, has experienced dropped sales throughout the semester.

Boulanger said that it is a normal trend for sales to start high, decline and then rise as the needs of clients are discerned.

“IPFW has been a great partner,” said Boulanger, explaining that Aramark is still learning the patterns but they enjoy being a part of IPFW. “We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your campus experience,” said Boulanger.