Outsourcing is only one possible recourse in the College’s effort to make the dining department as efficient as possible
In the article about outsourcing in last week’s Voice, the words “plan” and “proposal” were improperly used. They were meant to describe the option of outsourcing, but instead they made it sound as if a plan was already proposed to move to a contracted company, which is not the case.
Instead a discussion is occurring on how to move forward in order to make Dining Services as efficient as possible. This discussion is a part of an ongoing review of dining services’ practices, with outsourcing being one of the potential options. The final goal of the process is to establish the best dining service and to meet the needs of the College, and not to simply determine whether or not the school switches to an external service.
The review of dining services is using The National Association of College and University Food Services Professional Practices manual to properly evaluate the program. It is being carried out by the Financial Advisory Committee. In addition, focus groups, surveys and strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analyses are going into the assessment. A Facebook group called “Campus Dining Study Forum” currently allows students to discuss the issue.
At the end of the assessment, one of three current options will be chosen and implemented going forward with dining services. Outsourcing is one of these potential choices, and it continues to be one that many students are opposed to.
Another option is that dining services could remain operated by the College. In this scenario, practices would be improved as a result of going through the self-assessment, but the current staff and operation would continue to be run by the College.
The third option is a combination of the two, with part of the staff outsourced and the rest kept in house. There are two potential approaches to this option. In the first, the contracted company would be utilized to employ the management team only. The management would then be on the company’s payroll. The staff would still be on the College’s payroll, but would be supervised by the contracted management team. In the second approach, the contracted company would be utilized to employ the staff only. They would be on the company’s payroll, but supervised by a College employed management team.
“It’s my hope at the end of this, when we publish the report, we choose to stick with our current services and they beat any outsourced company,” Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer Laurie Stickelmaier said, echoing the opinions of many students. “We don’t want to outsource. What we want is the best possible dining service.”
The assessment will run through the summer, with a decision coming no earlier than fall semester 2013.