NANA Management Services was happy to find they would take over campus dining July 1, said Derrell Webb, the company’s vice president of operations.
“We were incredibly excited when we found out,” Webb said. “We applied because this is what we do, this is what we want to do.”
UAF and UAS will also award contracts to NANA Management Services.
Webb said having contracts for all three campuses allows the company to provide more specialized and dedicated resources to UA. For example, a marketing person will be specifically assigned to work on UA promotions. Webb said that committed staff will insure they do a good job.
Feedback will bring changes to food services
NANA Management Services’ “Solutions Process” will go into effect with the new contract, Webb said. They will collect information from campus focus groups and demographics to produce a three- to five-year plan for food services.
The commons menu system will be different. As opposed to Aramark’s monthly cycle, Webb said they provide a constantly changing menu based on student feedback collected on a daily basis.
“The real changes will be in the future,” Webb said.
NANA has worked at UAF since 2000. Webb said they have ideas that have worked at UAF that they’d like to incorporate at UAA, but want to make sure students here will like the changes. For example, he said UAF enjoys hand-tossed pizza, but he is not sure UAA students would like them as well. He said the pizza will be introduced, but its fate here will depend on what students say.
Subway will stay at UAA and will possibly be added to the UAF campus. Webb said they head from UAA student groups that Subway was the favorite place on campus to eat.
“My dream really is to partner with local venues,” Webb said. He said he wants to bring more options students crave to join Subway at UAA. “Each space would be totally different and unique so students get more variety.”
One concept that has worked at UAF is a locally owned sushi venue.
NANA Management Services hopes to add an additional food venue during each break until the transformation is complete: one during winter break, one next summer, and so on. Webb said the “Solutions Process” will help identify those venues.
Aramark employees have a future with new contract
Webb said they “absolutely” want to hire reliable employees from the past contract owners.
“In Alaska, good people are really hard to find, and we’ve got some great employees,” Webb said about potential UAA Aramark employees.
The new contract owners also work for other Alaska companies. Webb said NANA Management Services has a variety of contracts with Alaska companies, including food services at Anchorage’s BP building, various BP North Slope locations, pioneer homes statewide and the camp for the Red Dog mine. They also have employees at several Marriot hotels and cleaning staff at Providence Hospital.