Mason renews Sodexo contract

Sodexo has been with Mason since 1988 (photo courtesy of Sodexo).
Sodexo has been with Mason since 1988 (photo courtesy of Sodexo).

After a year of negotiation, Sodexo was given the contract to manage the dining operations at George Mason University. Sodexo has managed Mason’s dining since 1988, but faced competition from Chartwells when the contract came up for review in 2012.

The major focus of both companies’ pitches was 24 hour dining options. Mark Kraner, the executive director of campus retail operations, outlined some of the key points of the new contract.

“We’ll be opening more 24 hour dining options with another dining hall to help relieve the burden from Southside,” Kraner said.

Another focus of the contract was bringing more chain vendors to campus, namely a Panera instead of La Patisserie in the Johnson Center. But bringing national brands has its own share of troubles.

“Chick-Fil-A and Taco Bell cannot raise prices (on campus) above what they are off campus,” Kraner said, “It’s not this way everywhere. We had to fight for that.”

The contract is up for review every ten years, though there are renewal points each year in the event of a grievous mishandling. There is no final cost of the contract, the only fixed rate is a cap on what Sodexo can earn. Kraner estimated in an interview last year that the full value of the ten year contract is between $350 and $400 million.

More details on the Sodexo contract will be available when the documents are signed next week.

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