Aramark — NYU’s current food service provider — will not have its contract renewed, according to multiple NYU Dining employees who were notified by their managers over the last few days. The three employees that confirmed this information to WSN spoke under the condition of anonymity out of concern for their job security.
This leaves Compass Group USA as the sole contender for the university’s dining contract.
The transition may bring changes to meal plans, dining halls and the employment status of current NYU Dining employees, who are contracted by Aramark.
The company’s contract with the university was set to expire in 2023, but after Lipton Dining Hall received a C health inspection grade in fall 2017, the university initiated a bidding process. The contenders were Aramark, Compass Group, Sodexo and AVI Foodsystems, but Sodexo dropped out of the process in September and AVI Foodsystems dropped out in October. Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo are the three largest food service providers in the U.S.
Aramark, originally named ARA, was first contracted by NYU in 1976, and has come under fire in recent years for a laundry list of issues: in fall 2017, Lipton failed an inspection from the New York City Department of Health for multiple health code violations, including rat droppings. Lipton’s dining hall manager was fired following the incident. In spring 2018, Downstein served a racially stereotyped menu during Black History Month after which two managers were fired.
Additionally, student activists — spearheaded by the Incarceration to Education Coalition — have continuously protested the company’s ties to the prison-industrial complex. In December, the IEC led a 155-hour long occupation at Bobst Library and later the Kimmel Center for University Life to protest Aramark and the university’s bidding process for a new food service provider.
In the final stages of the bidding process, the remaining challenger against Aramark was Compass Group, which is now presumed to be the chosen food service provider for the new dining contract. However, students who protested Aramark in the past have also protested Compass Group for similar reasons — namely, because the food service provider has relations with prisons in Canada. Student activists have advocated for NYU to self-provide its dining services, like schools such as Yale University do, instead of contracting a company. Self-providing was supported in a resolution passed by the Student Government Assembly in the fall.
NYU declined to comment in an email to WSN. Aramark did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Email Meghna Maharishi and Victor Porcelli at [email protected].