University of Houston Auxiliary Services is taking steps to expand the scope and availability of food service to ensure we continue to meet the growing and more diverse needs of our student community. As a part of this effort, the University contracted Porter Khouw Consulting, a food service planning and design firm, to lead the re-visioning process of the dining program and guide the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. UH has now begun soliciting bids for a food service provider to implement and lead our vision for campus dining.
We know a lot of people might be curious about this process, how it all works and what it means for the campus, so we've outlined some helpful information below.
What was included in the consulting firm’s review?
Porter Khouw Consulting conducted a thorough review during the Fall 2016 semester to give UH Auxiliary Services a better understanding of how it could grow and improve its food program to better meet the needs of its customers. Its evaluation included vast input from the students and is part of a larger initiative undertaken by the Administration & Finance Division to evaluate and assess various programs and services offered to the campus community.
What did Porter Khouw recommend?
An anytime dining model of service is among the changes the consultant recommended and the University is embracing. This will allow students with a meal plan unlimited access to the dining halls, instead of being restricted to a fixed number of meals and worrying about running out of meal swipes before the semester is over.
In addition, hours of operation would be extended at Cougar Woods, while the existing Fresh Food Company will be converted into a student engagement commons open 24 hours a day with numerous upgrades, including additional power outlets, improved Wi-Fi and enhanced coffee offerings. The vision is for the existing Fresh Food Company to be a secure location for students to gather late at night to study, meet with friends and hang out.
Why is UH seeking bids for its dining program?
Our primary goal is to increase student satisfaction and exceed expectations in every aspect of campus life. To accommodate all the changes and see them become reality by the fall 2017 semester, we chose to seek bids from a wide open field of companies to come up with a comprehensive dining contract that best meets the needs of the University and its student body.
Will Aramark continue to manage UH dining services?
Aramark has been a valued University of Houston campus food service partner since 2005 and will have the opportunity to compete to continue serving students.
Aramark also provides venue management, food, beverage, retail merchandise and facility maintenance services at all of the University’s athletics facilities and Cullen Performance Hall. This arrangement is not included in this RFP.Additionally, the Hilton's existing agreement with Aramark will not be impacted by the outcome of this process.
What is the timeline for implementing and expanding dining service options?
UH Auxiliary Services began soliciting bids from food service vendors in March 2017. Our goal is to have our vendor in place during the summer and begin rolling out new and expanded food service to students this fall.
Where can I get more information?
During this time, concerns about day-to-day dining operations should be directed to Auxiliary Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the Auxiliary Services team is in the process of launching a new blog. Once that page is live, other updates may be shared there.
Questions regarding the actual RFP should be directed to the Purchasing Department, as that group is overseeing the procurement process.