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What’s up with all the Food Services changes this year?

Andrew Ikeman | Fulcrum Staff

Photo by Justin Labelle

Walking around campus this year, you might notice there are a lot of new options for where to eat. Bento Sushi moved out of the university centre (UCU) cafeteria and is now where the Upper Crust used to be, there is a new food truck under the Thompson- Fauteux overpass and the Faculty of Social Sciences building will soon be getting a bakery.

A lot of changes are being made to the food available on campus, which, according to Food Services Director Patrick Genest, are a part of their larger plan to improve the variety of food on campus.

“I remember when I started on campus in 2009, we were doing soup, salad, sandwich a lot across campus,” said Genest. “My vision was to create destinations where people can eat, instead of the same old thing in different faculties every day.”

The decision to move Bento Sushi out of the main food court was due to the fact that it is the most popular location in Canada, and the sushi shop in the food court was not large enough for the amount of traffic it received. Upper Crust, the sandwich shop that was located across from Pivik, was replaced with the full-sized Bento Sushi. The move made room for a new stand in the UCU food court called the Global Village, which offers a rotating menu selection. The University of Ottawa is also moving toward becoming fair-trade certified, a goal Genest believes we are close to achieving.

According to Genest, the changes have been well received by students, including the switch from Pizza Pizza to Gabriel Pizza in the UCU. Blair Lebeau, a second-year criminology student, said he liked the idea of a diverse food selection on campus.

“I think that Gabriel Pizza is better than Pizza Pizza,” said Lebeau. “The new changes have given us a lot more variety on campus for eating. I think the quality of the food has definitely gone up.”

Quality was an important consideration for the new changes, especially with the contract of the current food provider on campus, Chartwells, expiring in May 2013. The changes come just before the university is set to look at their options.

“We have received some bids [for the contract],” said Genest. “We are in the evaluation process … we should be able to announce before Christmas if we are changing [our supplier] or not. We have worked a lot with Chartwells over the last three years to make these changes on campus, and it has increased student satisfaction. I feel like when I came in in 2009, the overall student satisfaction was like 58 per cent overall, and over the last two years it has been 70 per cent. So we must be doing something right.”

Genest expressed that all choices made by food services were made with students in mind, and that the suggestions submitted by students through surveys and questionnaires were considered.