Four bidders compete for Iowa State University dining services contract

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's Purchasing Department has received bids from four food service management organizations in response to a request for proposals to operate the university's food service program.

The contract would include student residence dining centers, campus catering, retail cafes, convenience stores, vending machines, and the Memorial Union food court. ISU Dining, which operates under the office of Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Hill, currently manages these services.

ISU Dining is bidding for the contract, as are three companies that provide food services on other campuses: ARAMARK Campus Services, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.; the Chartwells Division of Compass Group USA Inc., Charlotte, N.C.; and Sodexho Operations, L.L.C., Williamsburg, Va.

A 22-member advisory committee of campus administrators, employees and students will meet and begin discussing the proposals in January. ISU's Purchasing Department is now reviewing the bids for proprietary and/or confidential information and checking to ensure that each submitted proposal meets the RFP requirements, said Arlo Meyer, director of business affairs at Iowa State.

The advisory committee will make recommendations to Vice President for Business and Finance Warren Madden and Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Hill.

The public can view proposals (by appointment) in the Administrative Services Building, ISU campus, near the end of the first week of January. An exact date and contact information (regarding how to make an appointment) will be announced soon.

To ensure the integrity of the evaluation and bid process, proposals aren't usually made public until an award is made, Meyer said. The university is making an exception in this case because of high public interest in the dining services contract, he added.