New dining options to include Subway and a full-service Starbucks
Students at Capilano University are passionate about their campus cuisine. Very passionate.
After 12 years as the institution’s exclusive food services provider, nobody knew that better than Aramark.
So when that company packed its bags in June to make way for Chartwells, there was much discussion about what could be done, what should be done and what would be done once the new guy showed up.
Sidharth Mohan listened to it all.
As the new Director of Food Services for Chartwells at CapU, he is responsible for implementing the changes that many have waited years for. Simply put, he’s the new guy.
“Before we actually put in the bid for providing food services I believe our marketing people did a survey on campus asking students last year what they wanted,” he said, “So it has a major role to play in what we’re going to be offering in the near future. Going forward we’ll also have our ear to the ground. We can’t make everyone happy but of course if people are talking we want to hear what they are saying and try to do what we can about it.”
The top brands students asked for were Subway and Starbucks, and Mohan said that both franchises will be up and running in the next few months once renovations are completed.
“We were hoping to get Subway open in the fall but because of certain permit issues we were not able to undergo the renovation so that’s kind of behind by a couple of months,” he explained. After a quick renovation over Christmas break, the franchise will operate in a space adjacent to Tim Hortons in the Birch cafeteria.
A second self-serve Tim Hortons opened on Tuesday on the second floor of Fir, replacing a kiosk that used to serve sandwiches and Second Cup coffee.
Mohan said that one of the most noticeable additions will be coming to the Library, in the teal-coloured alcove that once housed a row of vending machines.
“That will become a full service Starbucks with 100 per cent of their offerings,” he said, adding that the current cafe in Cedar will remain open on a temporary basis. “Once the Starbucks opens we will close down Cedar and move everything down.”
The project is expected to be completed by November.
As of Tuesday, Ethical Bean will replace Starbucks in the Bosa Centre, and the brew will also be available in Birch until the end of the school year.
At that time, even more cosmetic changes will be coming.
The cafeteria will receive an upgrade over the summer, complete with several new franchises. “The seating is all going to be revamped with more comfortable seating, there’s going to be charging stations for quite a few of the tables and a 12-screen multimedia wall,” said Mohan. “I’m also hoping to be able to get either an
Xbox or a Playstation somewhere close by that students in their free time can play games.”
A new hot stone oven will be brought in for making thin-crust pizzas and the salad bar will be moved front and centre.
“The grill is going to be changed to a brand we have in the US called Austin Grill,” said Mohan. “It’s a Tex-Mex twist so you’re going to have your regular burgers and fries and stuff but you’re also going to have your burritos and your tacos and nachos.”
Indian food may also be on the menu. Chartwells’ parent company, the Compass Group, currently has the American rights to Bal’s Spice Kitchen, a brand created by Food Network personality Bal Arneson, and Mohan hopes to open the first franchise in Canada. “It’s like an Indian-style Chipotle,” he explained.
There’s meats and sauces and vegetables and spices and there’s going to be chefs and you tell them what you want and they assemble it for you.”
Bento Sushi will stay put for the foreseeable future.
As they did with Aramark, students will still be able to purchase their food with a dining card. However, a new mobile app called ETUP is taking that convenience one step further. “You can download it on your phone and you link your credit cards,” said Mohan.
Chartwells was awarded the food services contract on June 22 after a competitive bidding process. The deal is exclusive and will be in effect for 15 years, giving the company the first right of refusal for all food provision on campus until 2030. The university will collect a percentage of annual sales.
Despite the changes, many of the former Aramark staff have stayed put. “Everyone who worked for Aramark was given the opportunity to continue employment with us,” said Mohan. “It works for us, too.
They know the campus, they know the customers. The girls at Tim Hortons, for some of the regulars they’ll have their coffee ready before they even get to the counter because they know exactly what they want.
That’s the kind of experience you can’t really put an ad for on Craigslist.”
Still, it’s been a busy summer for everyone involved.
“I wish there was a cloning machine,” Mohan laughed.
“This is a brand new account and there’s construction going on and new staff orientation happening, a ton of catering, so it’s been a very challenging summer but hopefully when the dust settles we’ll have something good to show for it.”
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