Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Bon App is out, Chartwells is in: SU’s new Catering Company

Self-order kiosks, mobile ordering, revamped eating areas and weekly rotating menus are just a few of the changes that are coming to the dining experience at Seattle University. Starting July 1, Seattle U will say goodbye to its longtime food service provider, Bon Appétit, and welcome aboard its replacement: Chartwells.

Both Bon Apppétit and Chartwells are owned by a single company called Compass Group, according to their website. Despite this organizational similarity, university officials still believe Chartwells has the potential to bring about important changes to campus.

“Every so often you need to look at who is providing your services in any area and we really hadn’t looked at our food service contract in any meaningful way in the last 20 years,” Connie Kanter, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Business Affairs at Seattle U, said.

The new menu is still under development as university officials await student feedback during open forums. Plans have been set for major construction projects to begin this summer and continue until the summer of 2019.

The first major dining location to get a touch-up will be The Bottom Line in the Pigott Atrium. It is no secret that this coffee and food stop has had an ongoing issue with wait times. “I’m in Pigott a lot and it’s really annoying when the line is out to the stairs. Adding a grab-and-go would definitely be more efficient,” first-year student Jake Zeigler said.

Kanter said operational inefficiencies are related to the facilities themselves and how dining operations are handled. “So we are looking to address all of that,” she said.

Still, the university has some specific plans already in place. They will expand the food service area by moving the computer printing station and dividing the area into two to three sections which will include self-service, coffee and food. Multiple lines, kiosks and mobile ordering will also be set up. These changes are set to be complete before fall quarter begins.

Cherry Street Market (C-Street) will undergo the biggest renovations. There will no longer be a divide between food pick-up and seating, and instead food stations will be scattered throughout the entire space, similar to a food court.

Each food station will have its own type of cuisine and point of-sale. However, don’t expect to see this change next fall. This renovation will occur slowly over the course of the next school year, as construction is conducted over breaks when a majority of students aren’t accessing C-Street.

Despite these delays, one new food station will open by next September. Neighborhood Eats is set to open on the northeast side of the dining hall by the back bathrooms. All the food served at Neighborhood Eats will be Pacific Northwest oriented, meaning locally sourced ingredients and flavors. Chartwells is working to make 23 percent of their ingredients locally sourced. Neighborhood Eats will also be a spot for student engagement activities such demonstrations with local chefs and nutrition classes.

Some students are looking forward to the new dining options that will be available.

“It comforting to have the same [food] available, but then it’s slightly annoying to eat the same thing every week, so having a change more often seems cool,” second-year student Priest Noonan said.

In addition to changes made to preexisting food stations, Chartwells will bring in a few brand new eateries like Tú Taco, a Mexican eatery serving up tacos, nachos, rice and beans. Another restaurant coming soon is Revolution Noodle, serving up a weekly rotating noodle dish like pho, ramen and dim sum. Other new spots include Emerald Bowl which will feature a rice bowl section, Plains to Plate, which will have rotating cuisine such as spuds, pasta and pulled pork week, C-Street To-Go and Capitol Hill Deli.

“If you go to Tú Taco, you can get your entire meal there so you can get a starter, drinks, desserts, main and side courses all in one location,” Kanter said. “By having these food stations throughout the area, it’s going to create almost like little neighborhoods.”

Kanter acknowledged that The Hawks Nest Bistro has also failed to have a variety menu, partly due to limited space and equipment. “We sort of talk about is as menus and venues, so the venue really drives the menu.,” Kanter said.

By next winter break the area will be completely revamped. For example, the walls will be destroyed to create an open eating area that will stay open even when the eatery closes.

“We are just trying to make more inviting spaces for students to hang 24/7,” Kanter said.

With the menu under wraps, one thing that students shouldn’t worry about is a change in meal plan rates. They will stay the same, and Chartwells is working with the school to create menu options at each food eatery station that they consider a value.

“Take a junior that lives on 23rd and Cherry, if they are on campus, they could buy a voluntary, smaller meal plan and they would save on the sales tax and a 10 percent discount at the register, which ends up being around 20 percent,” Kanter said.

All hourly, union employees are guaranteed a job during the transition, and non-union hourly employees can apply to stay, or be transferred to another location. All management staff, such as General Manager Jay Payne, will be transferred. A new general manager is still being selected.

A student-open forum will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Wyckoff Auditorium for students to learn more and add in their input.

Erika may be reached at
[email protected]

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