Aramark at BJU becomes food service model for other universities

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Aramark at BJU becomes food service model for other universities

Aramark serves students at the International Grill. Photo: Holly Diller

Aramark. You see the name around the Dining Common and The Den, but have you ever wondered who exactly they are?

Aramark is an on-site food service provider based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Servicing more than 600 colleges and other institutions in North America alone, they hold contracts in more than 22 countries around the world. They also provide food services to locations like state parks and sporting event venues.

In July 2011, after a lengthy decision process, Bob Jones University and Aramark entered into a contract to upgrade BJU’s food service to its students, staff and visitors.

“We looked at what many different companies could do and put together statistics,” said Mr. Roy Hulehan, director of retail operations at BJU.

After defining what needs the University had for food service, such as requiring nutrition information to be provided, costs and technical aspects, BJU presented the information to four different food service companies. Aramark best demonstrated that they could meet BJU’s requirements, and they are now in their third year of food service at BJU.

Not only does Aramark run the dining common, The Growl, Grab ’n Go and The Den, but they also cater the lunches for K-4 to eighth grade classes of Bob Jones Academy.

Summer Improvements

During this past summer, BJU and Aramark were able to make significant upgrades to the dining common and The Den. The most obvious updates on campus were to The Den, which combined the Campus Store and the Snack Shop. Aramark manages The Den’s Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s, Brody’s Grill, Provisions on Demand and Cuppa Jones.

“[BJU] did a great job of updating everything,” said Adam Summer, Aramark’s on-site food service director at BJU. “We love seeing the engagement between students and how The Den has become a social hub on campus.”

In addition to the creation of The Den, the kitchen of the dining common was also renovated.

“[The kitchen] was gutted and new equipment was brought in,” Hulehan said. “The old equipment was 30 to 40 years old, and the new equipment is more efficient. [Aramark] can now cook food closest to the time it will be served.”

The new equipment allows for a higher capacity during cooking and fresher food served to patrons in the Kalmbach Room.

A wood chip smoker, used to make smoked pulled pork (featured at the Barbecue Bash in September), barbecue beef (featured at the Day of Prayer luncheon), barbecue chicken (often served at the Comfort Station) and carved pork loin,  was also added to the inventory of equipment available to Aramark. The smoker was debuted for the Day of Prayer lunch served in the Activity Center.

“The smoker gives a higher flavor profile than we were able to make before,” Summer said.

Other changes this year include the unlimited card swipe access and the ability to use Grab ‘n Go containers at all times in the Kalmbach Room.

These updates and the resulting improvement seen in BJU food service have led other universities to visit campus to see how BJU’s food services are now run.

“We are now considered having an outstanding location, and we want to continue to improve efficiency,” Hulehan said.                                            

Future Improvements

Aramark and BJU are always looking for new ways to improve the food service in the dinning common and The Den. A student focus group meets monthly with Summer to give comments and suggestions for future changes. Feedback from all students is strongly encouraged to help Aramark continue to grow and assist students. If any student wishes to be a part of this student focus group, please email Adam Summer for more information at asummer@bju.edu.