McGill’s new food-service provider to be greener, offer more variety


Selection committee unanimous in choosing Aramark Canada as private partner

Food services at McGill are about to become more environmentally sustainable, offer more locally produced items and provide better service in the form of greater variety and more healthy choices after Aramark Canada was selected as the University's new partner in delivering food and beverage service to a wide variety of outlets on the downtown McGill campus.

Following an extensive, public process of evaluation and consultation, McGill's committee for the selection of a new food services provider unanimously recommended Aramark. McGill, which operates under a mixed model of private- and university-operated facilities, will continue to operate its own food and dining services at most University residences.

The committee, which included undergraduate and graduate student representatives as well as procurement and food service experts, examined proposals from three companies/consortia on three essential criteria: quality, price and, most important, the ability to deliver on promises.

"I am very much looking forward to working Aramark on improving our food offerings on the downtown campus," said Mathieu Laperle, Director of McGill's Food and Dining Services. "We went into this process with the aim of improving our food offerings to the McGill community and I'm confident we will achieve that. Aramark will also meet and exceed McGill's environmental and sustainability requirements and is committed to working closely with the University in developing new environmentally friendly initiatives - one of the key concerns of the student representatives, and others, on our selection committee."

Aramark serves more than 400,000 students in a variety of educational institutions across Canada. The company makes a point of tailoring its offerings to suit the different needs of each campus. Under the supervision of McGill Food and Dining Services, Aramark will now work on a transition plan that addresses all the food service locations affected by the transition from one service provider to another, to ensure services to the McGill community will be uninterrupted. Current McGill food service employees will have the opportunity to apply for positions with Aramark. The company has also committed to making capital improvements in the facilities it will operate. The contract, which comes into effect June 1, is guaranteed for three years, with the possibility of two one-year extensions.

"It is true that we will be saying goodbye to two providers - Matteo and Chartwell's - who have served the McGill community for some time," Laperle said. "But this was an open, competitive process and everyone who participated was treated fairly. What matters most is our ability to respond to what our clientele have been telling us: they want greater variety, improved environmental sustainability (including local produce and products), more nutritional information and, of course, all at a good price. That the committee was unanimous in its recommendation speaks volumes about how strong the Aramark proposal is."

McGill, he said, will continue to have oversight over menus offered at all food service locations, including those operated by Aramark, and will ensure that the company meets University-established rules regarding prioritizing the purchase of locally harvested produce and grains that are grown without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

This contract does not apply to the provision of food services at the Macdonald Campus or the Gault Nature Reserve in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, nor the food outlets contracted by the Students' Society of McGill University or the vending machines it operates on the downtown campus.

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