Committees & DTFs


March 7, 2001

To: Ann Daley, Vice President for Finance and Administration

From: Food Services DTF

Subject: DTF Recommendations

Last fall, the Food Services DTF was charged to take on the difficult task of identifying what viable options we have for food here at Evergreen. The DTF's charge outlined the work in two phases. The objective for the DTF during phase one was to "create a set of recommendations regarding what kind of a food service program we should put in place for Fall 2001." The second phase will focus on the actual development of specifications and any other documents needed to proceed during spring quarter.

Utilizing previous DTFs' work, prior survey work, other colleges' and universities' expertise, the National Association of College and University Food Services, local businesses and resources, as well as professional consultants, the group researched nine different models for food service. Based on their findings, the DTF has concluded that we must, at this time, pursue a contract arrangement to provide Evergreen's food services for Fall 2001. The following is a brief outline of the research that was completed.


Business Contract (Four models) � Managed and operated by a corporation with non-college employees

  • Exclusive contract 7-10 years
  • Exclusive contract 1-3 years
  • Non-exclusive contract with local and national vendors
  • Multiple contracts with all local vendors.

Self Operation (Two models) � Managed and operated by Evergreen with college employees

  • Commence self-operation Fall 2001
  • Extend current contract and create self operation in 2002

Interagency Agreement (Three models) � Managed and operated by a state agency with agency employees

  • South Puget Sound Community College
  • University of Washington
  • Department of Services for the Blind Business Enterprises Program

Each model was evaluated with the following criteria:

  • Timeframe necessary to implement
  • Community impact
  • Ability to meet all of the college's needs
  • Financial implications to the college
  • Pros/Cons
  • Political implications

The following are the pros and cons that we identified:

Business Contract

Exclusive Contract 7-10 years:


  • Frequently can offer higher salaries and bonus incentives
  • Provides a cohesive management and operational structure
  • Frees the campus administration from day-to-day operational issues
  • Provides the procedures for purchasing, marketing and employee training
  • Potential resource to fund capital improvements


  • College enters into a long-term contract
  • Quality of the program is dependent on the abilities of the resident manager
  • Successful management is often promoted to larger sites
  • Limited control for the college
  • Negative perception from the community

Exclusive Contract 1- 3 years:


  • Allows the college time to develop a food services master plan
  • Frequently can offer higher salaries and bonus incentives
  • Provides a cohesive management and operational structure
  • Frees the campus administration from day-to-day operational issues
  • Provides the procedures for purchasing, marketing and employee training


  • No vendor interest in short-term contract
  • College would need to pay a management fee (lose commissions)
  • Negative community perception
  • Limited control for the college

Non-exclusive with Local and National Vendors:


  • Provides most food options
  • Supports local community
  • Creates healthy competition between vendors
  • Still have access to corporate resources for large scale needs
  • Currently only have one main kitchen
  • Only a successful model on large campuses

Multiple Contracts with Local Vendors


  • Provides local business options
  • Diverse interchangeable food offerings
  • Supports local business
  • Small businesses are receptive to customer needs


  • Our one centralized kitchen won't satisfy the needs of multiple vendors
  • Health code issues regarding multiple vendors sharing one kitchen
  • No one with the ability to provide conference, catering and meal plan needs

Self Operation

For Fall 2001:


  • College has complete control
  • Greatest potential for generating revenue for the college
  • More responsive to the needs of customers and campus
  • Community perception good
  • Less negotiation needed to implement change


  • Need at least one full year to create a successful program
  • Large start up cost (minimum of $300,000-500,000)
  • Eliminates the college's ability to contract out in the future
  • The program is only as good as the on site management
For Fall 2002:


  • Allows the college time to develop a successful program
  • College has complete control of the program


  • No interest from the vendor community for short-term contracts
  • Legally cannot extend our current contract again
  • The college would have to pay a large management fee to bring someone here for just a year

Interagency Agreement:


  • Good community perception
  • Provides a cohesive management and operational structure
  • Frees the campus administration from day-to-day operational issues
  • Provides the procedures for purchasing, marketing and employee training
  • Potential resource to fund capital improvements
  • Supports local government verses corporations


  • Only the University of Washington has the staff capable to operate Evergreen
  • Start-up cost
  • Eliminates college's ability to contract out in the future
  • Our needs are beyond the scope of SPSCC and Dept. Services for the Blind

The food service needs of the college stretch further than what is apparent day-to-day during the academic year. We provide a meal plan for approximately 200 EF language students during the summer, as well as providing service for a large summer conference schedule ($600,000). Year-round, our food services facility provides concessions, a vast variety of catering services, three meals daily (Monday through Friday) for the EF population, as well as three meals daily (Monday-Sunday, based on the scheduled classes) for the rest of the students, faculty, staff and visiting community members. All food service models must have the ability to provide all of these dimensions.

A self -operation model could indeed provide all of these services, but the DTF realizes how essential it is to have adequate time to develop a successful program. Two different consultants made it clear to the DTF that planning must start at least one full year prior to such a transition. Rich Wheeler of Fessel International Hospitality Consultants framed it well saying, "It is our position that any decision involving a substantive (change in or) move toward self-operation of Dining Services should be based on positive decision points rather than the sense of �being forced' into the decision as the only alternative, particularly due to current time schedules. Such a decision is too important and potentially permanent to be made from a defensive position."

The DTF researched possibilities within the local community. Contacts ranged from South Puget Sound Community College to local small businesses around the Olympia area and some of the larger-scale food producers in the region. While they were quite interested, the scope and scale of our dining needs exceeded all of their capacities. Even with the multiple vendors model, we could not resolve how to utilize the centralized kitchen in the CAB to provide daily service, the meal plan, summer conference and catering needs, and still be financially successful.

Term of contract was also explored as it pertained to each type of contract. In the past, Evergreen has offered a ten-year deal (seven-year contracts with three one-year extensions), staying within the industry norm. No vendors expressed interest in a short-term contract, and not wanting to commit to another seven-year contract, the DTF recommends that we offer a five-year contract with two two-year extensions. This insures that we will have interest from the vendor community and also provides the college with the most amount of flexibility regarding future food service needs at Evergreen.

Through the DTF's examination of a college-owned and operated food service, it became apparent that for any food service to be financially viable, we need to integrate all of the currently separate components of our campus food operation, and develop some type of dependable financial base to sustain the operation. Understanding the need to create a dependable financial base, a debit-based meal plan became a promising solution. This new meal plan would need to be non-traditional and easily accessible to all students, faculty and staff.

After exploring the different food service models, it also became apparent that successful food services are highly dependent on their ability to provide a late-night food option, mainly for the residential community. The Housing Community Center (HCC) currently provides the most convenient and unique late-night food option. Currently there are two separate food operations in the HCC, reporting to different divisions. By combining these two venues into one efficient space and creating a cooperative relationship with the campus food service, an integrated and successful food service will be created at Evergreen.

Recognizing the value of the current operation in the HCC, we are seeking to preserve its distinctive student-centered flavor while enhancing it as a resource for our community. We view this space not only as a resource to provide food for our community, but also as a fantastic learning model of how a small business functions.

In concluding our "phase one" efforts, we are making the following recommendations regarding factors that we identified during phase one. These factors need to be addressed no matter which model Evergreen decides to use to provide food services for the future.

Food Service DTF

1. Create a Sustainable Financial Base

The DTF realized that any foodservice operation's at Evergreen is profoundly restricted due to the lack of dependable revenue during the academic year. "Evergreen is in a weak position to negotiate with contractors in the first place. Without a mandatory board plan�it is not as financially attractive as other colleges and universities." Cornyn Fascano Group consultants

Specific Recommendations:

  • Develop a quality and affordable food program conducive to Evergreen's unique flavor and taste.
  • Develop a non-traditional required meal plan for a segment of the Evergreen community for Fall 2002.
  • Implement a debit card based meal plan system, which will integrate all food sites on campus.
  • Require a debit card system to have the potential to handle all cash activities on campus and be expandable to off campus sites.

2. Develop a capital facilities plan

the facility to operate efficiently and meet the campus audience's expectations. "� The Evergreen State College's Dining Services facilities are generally dated, and are not ideally developed and positioned to respond to the values of today's students." Rich Wheeler Fessel International The current foodservice facilities lack flexibility and requires substantial capital investment in order for Hospitality Consultants

Specific Recommendations

  • Develop a foodservice master plan to address immediate, short and long term needs.
  • Incorporate foodservice master plans into the campus master plan.
  • Develop a phased approach to increasing seating capacity for foodservices.
  • Develop a phased approach to creating efficient traffic flow in the Deli and Greenery servery.
  • Develop a detailed assessment of all food equipment and phased replacement schedule.
  • Develop a detailed assessment of all foodservice sites and a phase re-conception/renovation plan.
3. Combine all food operations in the Housing Community Center

Currently there are two separate food operations in the Housing Community Center (HCC). The Subterranean reporting to Housing and the Branch reporting to the Bookstore. Each operates with substantial student leadership/decision making power and provides a distinctive flavor of the campus.

Specific Recommendations

  • Integrate the two operations into one food venue in the HCC.
  • The new food venue in the HCC will report to Housing if the college enters into an agreement with a private foodservice vendor or directly to campus Foodservice if the college enters into an Interagency agreement with a another state agency.
  • Require the new food venue in the HCC to develop annual business goals, budgets and marketing plans with college staff support. Annually submit these plans to the Housing Director and the Director of Business Services for approval.
  • Integrate the new food venue in the HCC into the campus debit card system.
  • Develop a cooperative relationship between campus foodservice and the new food venue in the HCC. Providing retail space for foodservice items in the new food venue while maintaining the distinctive flavor of the HCC.

4. Support of local growers and producers

The college foodservice must develop meaningful partnerships with local growers and producers when ever possible. "Evergreen will strive to strengthen, create and support a rich tapestry of formal and informal partnerships and community connections that are mutually beneficial and congruent with the college's values. Partnerships provide intellectual and material resources to the college, lending additional vibrancy to the college in providing collaborative opportunities for both students and faculty. Partnerships provide an avenue for the college leadership to address at an institutional level common concerns with community groups and agencies." Evergreen's Long-range Strategic Plan 2000

Specific Recommendations

  • Foodservice shall be required to produce annual statement defining total food purchases (cost of sales) and what percentage of the total was purchased within Thurston County (locally).
  • A goal of 20% locally purchased cost of sales will be set for food services for the first year operation 2001-2002.
  • A goal of 2% annual increases in locally purchased cost of sales will be set for each of the following years until the total reaches 30% of cost of sales.
  • All efforts shall be made to utilize the college Organic Farm. Local produce pricing shall be based on the regional supplier's weekly price list.

5. Continued investigation of a college operated foodservice

The DTF realized that a healthy food service operation must reflect the unique taste and interest of the institution to which it serves. Also realized is that the college does not have the necessary time (12 to 24 months) to develop a self operated food services for fall 2001. It is the view of the DTF that a self operated food service will best provide this undertaking to Evergreen. "Approximately 60% of College and University Dining Services is self-operated. The primary reason for the selection of this style of management is the assurance of the complete control over all aspects of the Dining Service Program. This type of management style provides the greatest flexibility for the campus to integrate its programmatic goals with fiscal requirements." Rich Wheeler Fessel International Hospitality Consultants

Specific Recommendations

  • Two -to-three years before the conclusion of the next contract, a new DTF should be charged to review the model developed by this DTF and determine a foodservice course that will provide Evergreen with its unique foodservice taste and interest.