SAN MARCOS — Palomar College Governing Board approved a new food services contract with California Dining Services, set to roll out on October 2, 2023.
The decision to bring on a new food services provider came after Palomar’s current provider, Aramark decided to terminate their contract. Aramark gave Palomar a 60-day notice to Palomar stating that they would be ending their contract early, ending their services on September 21.
Currently the only food services that Aramark offers at Palomar is the Subway on the San Marcos campus, along with numerous vending machines.
The new provider that is set to officially roll out food services for Palomar on October 2 is California Dining Services (CDS).
“They[California Dining Services] were anticipating a two to three week transition to make sure that Aramark has a chance to remove anything that’s theirs… And then in that two to three week period, CDS also happens to have catering trucks that they take around to different events for their other customers. And we’re dialing in where they can park,” said VP of Finance and Administrative Services Dr. Todd McDonald.
The decision to bring on CDS was made by the Palomar College Governing Board, and during their meeting on September 12 the agreement with CDS was officially approved. This process however, was expedited because of Aramark’s early exit so rather than putting a contract out to bid it was given to CDS.
“They create their own menu, they’ve got their own chefs, they’ve got their own management team that comes in runs it. We’re trying to nail down what their final version of the menu is going to be so we can get that sent out in communication as well with information about the food truck options,” said McDonald.
The hours of operation for the food services is also of importance for Palomar so that students with morning classes or evening classes have the opportunity to get food on campus. The current agreement is for CDS to operate from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Friday.
Palomar is also looking to work with CDS to offer better food options at the various centers on campus, rather than just having vending machines. This desire to get better options across campus comes from Palomar’s in-person enrollment starting to make a come back.
“I’m excited to try something new, I feel like it’s going to work out well. We look forward to getting employee and student feedback on the formal RFP(Request For Proposal) at some point in the next 18 months. I hope everybody likes it, I hope it enhances service and brings things closer to the level of what people expect,” said McDonald.
Palomar’s contract with CDS is set to last until June, 2025 according to the Palomar College Governing Board, at which point Palomar’s food services contract will go out to bid.
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