UW-L’s food service switch will affect hundreds of employees

UW officials said the change will lower cost and increase food quality

For the second time in just three years University of La Crosse is changing their food service provider. The switch will affect hundreds of employees.

Some 300 dining employees will be laid off in June when UW-L’s contract with current provider Sodexo changes. However, they are all expected to resign new deals with Chartwells, the provider that will take over.

UW officials said the change will lower cost and increase food quality on campus.

Every day, thousands of students, like freshman Jarred Heer, file into UW-L’s cafeterias.

“I eat here for like every single meal,” Heer said.

Heer is on a standard university meal plan which allows up to 19 meals a week, usually leaving the busy student hungry.

“A lot of weeks I run out of meals, because I try to eat three meals a day and I can’t do that with 19 meals a week,” Heer said.

However that’s about to change, the university has struck a deal with provider Chartwells. Now student’s like Heer will get unlimited meals every week at a lower cost.

“We anticipate that the cost saving for students and UW-L is going to be about half a million dollars for the first year of the contract,” Larry Ringgenberg, the director of University Centers at UW-L.

Chartwells promises to upgrade the quality of the food.

“What I’m expecting is a lot more local food,” Riggenberg said

This is a welcomed change for students like Erika Bassler who often has to eat out.

“The food quality just makes you want to go off campus and have a real, hearty meal that’s actually filling and substantial,” Riggenberg said.
Officials are now working hard to ensure the change is seamless for hundreds of employees.

“They need to negotiate a new contract with Chartwells, and I’m anticipating and really emphasizing that they need to be back to work on June 13,” Ringgenberg said.

Despite multiple changes, students are just looking forward to a change from the current cuisine.

“It was just a little bit underwhelming; I would say it was one of my least favorite things,” Bassler said.

Sodexo served the campus for a little less than three years. Chartwells will officially take over this June.