Warren Madden, Business and Finance, (515) 294-6162
Tom Hill, Student Affairs, (515) 294-4420
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Within the next year, Iowa State University will have a single, self-operated campus dining operation.

The operation will involve a merger of Iowa State's residence department's dining center, catering and convenience store operations; the Memorial Union’s catering service and food court (contracts with franchises will be honored); catering at Scheman (which the Memorial Union currently does); and campus vending services and cafes. It excludes concessions at Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum, but those services will be examined as contracts come up for renewal.

Starting July 1, the director of the new Campus Dining Services will be Stewart Burger, who has worked in the residence department’s food service for nearly 30 years.

"Student satisfaction is what drives this decision," said Tom Hill, vice president for student affairs. "They have told us they want more variety in foods and greater flexibility in when and where they can eat. At the same time, this should open up more locations for faculty and staff and more opportunities for them to have meals with students."

The new operation was recommended by Hill and Warren Madden, vice president for business and finance, and approved by President Martin Jischke.

Madden and Hill’s recommendation echoes that of a consultant team that has been studying the university’s food operations for more than two years. In its spring 2000 report, the team could cite "no compelling reason" to move to contract-managed food service. Merging existing food operations has been the agreed-upon goal for the last 12 months; what remained was whether to contract the service to a national service provider, such as ARAMARK or Marriott, or coordinate it internally.

"We think this will be the win-win situation for everyone," Madden said. "By merging the two (residence and Memorial Union food units), we should do a better job of meeting student, staff and faculty needs. We're told the food volume at the Memorial Union and in dining centers could grow 10 to 15 percent."

Noting about 75 percent of the on-campus food volume is generated by the residence department and the rest by the Memorial Union, he said campus food operations are "very efficient."

"From a cost perspective, our costs would go up 10 to 11 percent under a service contract. And the consultants, who help schools find food service leaders, indicated Stewart Burger is as good as we’ll find nationally. He has a dedicated staff and the added value of knowing Iowa State well," Madden said.

"I'm excited about the potential for a unified dining service to provide a wider variety of services to the university community, especially our students," Burger said.

Madden said consultants consistently have said Iowa State’s food operations are under-staffed. He added projected volume growth should mean more jobs. He said he doesn’t anticipate layoffs or downsizing, but some responsibilities may change.

Hill said consultants, representing the firms of The Ricca Planning Studio and Cornyn-Fasano Group, along with a campus advisory group, will work with Burger to design and implement a merger plan over the next year.


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