Campbell Catering Ltd, trading as Aramark, has won the tender to take over catering services in UCD’s Main Restaurant. The company, who will be injecting significant capital investment into the area, will create an International Food Court to replace the current catering services, by January 2013.
The refurbishments will begin at the end of this year, to be completed during the Christmas holidays to minimise disruption to services and students. It is hoped that these changes will allow UCD Catering Services to be able to provide for the changing food demands on campus.
UCD Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin commented on the development, saying that: “The food outlet will be changing dramatically over Christmas. On the plans I’ve seen, there are different areas sectioned off. Subway are there, Bewleys are there, so there are some well-known brands. There are also various themes, like an Asian theme in one area for example. The food offer will contain everything from sandwiches and standard fare, to food from all over the world.”
As a major player in the food market both here and abroad, and from past experience, Breslin expects the quality of food from the Aramark subsidiary to be of a high standard: “Judging by Campbell’s other food outlets, the quality is normally very good. On issues such as quality and price, it really is the responsibility of the Students’ Union and students as a whole that if they [quality and price] don’t stay the same, then we will have to act.” Regarding diet variety, Breslin says: “There are vegetarian, vegan and Halal options included.”
As well as the development of the upper floor of the restaurant, President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady stated that there would be “a new food offer on the lower floor in the spring of 2013, and the refurbishment of the kitchens and staff facilities and some major engineering works.”
A spokesperson for the University said of the later developments that: “The plan for the lower ground floor adjacent to the Global lounge is to open a different type of offering to those currently available elsewhere on campus to increase the diversity of choice for students and staff.”
It is understood that UCD will no longer be operating the restaurant internally, and that Aramark will now be “wholly responsible for the operation of UCD’s Main Restaurant”. The existing catering staff will remain employees of UCD, in order to ensure continuity of service. This marks the project out as being “unique to Ireland” from a HR perspective, according to Dr. Brady.
Campbell Catering provides services to over 400 organisations and employs over 4,000 staff in Ireland. Worldwide, the Aramark corporation operates in 22 countries, employing over 255,000 staff, with its main focus being the education sector. UCD Commercial, Residential and Hospitality Services chose Aramark as it fitted the criteria of a partner who would invest in infrastructure, improvements in service, and in people.