Students are eating lunch Tuesday at Waves Cafe . Pepperdine will welcome Bon Appètit to manage dining services after four decades with Sodexo. Photo by Ashley Mowreader
Beginning August 2022, Pepperdine will start a new contract with Bon Appètit Management Company — an on-site restaurant company which offers full food-service management for universities. Bon Appètit will replace Sodexo – Pepperdine’s dining service for over four decades, according to a March 15 Public Relations email.
The University has been investigating the dining services market since 2019, knowing Sodexo’s contract would end in spring 2020. Due to the pandemic, Pepperdine extended its contract until July 22. Pepperdine has worked with Sodexo since 1977.
“They [Bon Appètit] are one of the industry leaders, and they are most excellent in every way,” Chief Business Officer Nicolle Taylor said. “Bottom line, we are looking forward to great tasting food, excellent customer service and a partnership that will help us to respond to all the community wants and needs and requests and concerns in a way that I think will be very welcomed by the community.”
Pepperdine asked the community for their feedback in 2019 — offering the community an opportunity to listen to presentations and participate in food tastings. Taylor said Student Government Association was also very involved in the process, providing their feedback and student input.
The University narrowed its decision to three finalists: Sodexo, Bon Appétit and Chartwells. The finalists received evaluations based on food service, sustainability, ability to adapt to emergencies and food quality, Taylor said.
“We’re grateful to all of the finalists and the participants also because they had to continue to wait and be in limbo a bit and provide us with information,” Taylor said.
After much consideration, the University chose Bon Appètit based on their cooked-from-scratch food and their responsible sourcing practices. The University also relied on community feedback, according to the email.
“We know that food plays such an important part at Pepperdine,” Director of Human Resources Sean Michael Phillips said. “We know that community is fostered around food. We know that food can be comforting and I think that Bon Appètit is going to be a wonderful partner.”
Bon Appètit is based in Redwood City, Calif., and operates over 1,000 cafes in 33 states.
Pepperdine thanked Sodexo for over 45 years of service to students, faculty and staff, Public Relations wrote in the email.
“They have seen us through the good, the bad and the ugly for sure,” Taylor said. “They have been there for us in times of crisis and in times of celebration.”
Taylor said Sodexo has set a foundation for Pepperdine to build upon and been a good partnership for the past nearly 50 years.
“Sodexo has been a dedicated partner, seeing our community through many years of growth and change, and most recently committing to extraordinary measures during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our community safe,” Public Relations wrote.
Sodexo employees will have the chance to meet with Bon Appètit to apply to continue working at the University, and Bon Appètit will encourage continued work at the University for current employees, according to the email.
“We are excited to partner with Bon Appètit and look forward to the future of dining services at Pepperdine,” Public Relations wrote.
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