NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Chartwells Higher Education, a food-service company providing dining options to 300 higher education institutions around the country, will begin preparing and serving meals to Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks July 1, replacing Aramark.
Chartwells is the food service provider for several Texas universities, including Texas State University, the University of Texas at Dallas and Texas A&M University at College Station.
The decision for SFA to transition to Chartwells came after a request for proposal and a thorough selection process that included input from students, faculty, staff and administrators.
SFA’s Board of Regents reviewed feedback submitted by the RFP evaluation committee during its quarterly meeting in April and selected Chartwells as its preferred partner. The partnership will provide added meal plan flexibility, greater menu variety and an innovative retail dining experience. SFA’s contract with Chartwells will last seven years.
“Cooked-from-scratch foods, menus developed by season, supporting farmers by sourcing locally, and offering vegan, vegetarian and allergen-friendly options are all trademarks of Chartwells,” said Carrie Charley, SFA director of auxiliary services. “The new dining program will be rebranded as Lumberjack Eats, representing a fresh, student-centric approach to campus dining. Lumberjacks can look forward to a refreshed dining experience with new dining stations in the Baker Pattillo Student Center and East College Dining Hall.”
“The G8 station will be a fresh addition to both dining halls,” Charley said. “It will offer menu selections prepared without the eight major allergens, including wheat. Throughout the dining halls, Chartwells’ menu and nutrition labeling system will help guests make safe and healthy choices.”
For fall, students can expect to see their favorite national brands, including Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels. New additions to retail dining include Jax Burger, serving burgers, tots and shakes, and Above the Board, featuring customizable, made-to-order salads and sandwiches.
All meal plans will remain the same in structure through June 2022. SFA and Chartwells will work collaboratively to develop future meal plan options that provide the best value and flexibility for SFA students, faculty and staff.
Hourly Aramark associates currently working at SFA will receive an employment offer from Chartwells that meets or exceeds their current wage, pending background check, Charley said. SFA will continue to have its own registered dietitian, whose services are free to students, and a new executive chef employed by Chartwells will work with SFA stakeholders to develop new menu items and dining options across campus.
“The SFA community can look forward to a culinary experience that emphasizes quality, made-to-order food, menu customization and value,” said Shannon Mariani, regional vice president for Texas, Chartwells Higher Education. “With ongoing feedback from students and the SFA community, our chefs will create menus Lumberjacks will crave. Diverse and authentic flavors will be infused into stations, and scratch cooking will define the foundation of the dining program. Beyond the plate, we look forward to engaging guests with culinary education through our Teaching Kitchen program and creating memorable experiences through innovative dining events.”
Students are encouraged to apply for campus dining positions. Additionally, Chartwells will launch a Student Success internship program, which provides student access to hands-on work in community health and wellness, hospitality management, marketing, social responsibility and sustainability.
Chartwells also will explore partnerships with departments across campus to build greater opportunities for career exploration with Chartwells and Compass Group, Chartwells’ parent company.