February 26, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
AVI wins Slippery Rock University foodservice provider contract
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - AVI Fresh, the campus contract food vendor at Slippery Rock University since 2002 has been awarded a new contract to continue providing food services for the campus following a unanimous vote of the University's eight-member review committee.
The newly approved contract calls for on-campus additions of a full-service, licensed Starbucks coffee shop and the first Quaker Steak and Lube facility franchise located on a college campus. Both operations will be part of the new Student Union.
"The AVI contract was unanimously approved by a review committee that included students, faculty and staff, after it considered bid proposals submitted by AVI and two other contract food vendors," said Debra Pincek, assistant to the vice president for student life administration.
The new contract is for the provision of all campus food service operations, valued at approximately $8 million annually.
"I am very excited about being selected as the foodservice provider at Slippery Rock University and the McKeever Environmental Learning Center in Sandy Lake. This is a validation of the commitment of our team members to provide an outstanding dining experience for all of our guests no matter the dining occasion," said John Vag, resident district manager for AVI Fresh, a division of AVI FoodSystems Inc., based in Warren, Ohio. "Although we have had many accomplishments over the last seven years, I look forward to the opportunity to continue to grow and enhance our facilities and programs across the campus. Our partnership with the University and the campus community has been a rewarding one that will only improve through the many new initiatives we have established for implementation during the next few years."
"The growth of the campus provides us the ability to create new dining destinations that will make the campus unique. We will have the ability to bring national and regional brands to campus along with a leading edge approach to fresh food. AVI has made a strong commitment to Slippery Rock University and I am proud to be a part of the future of this University," Vag said.
AVI serves more than 8,000 meals daily in SRU's two dining halls as well as at Rocky's Grille in the University Union and the University Club in North Hall. In addition it provides food service at the McKeever Environmental Learning Center which is administered by SRU and the Regional Learning Alliance which was created by SRU.
AVI's original contract in 2002 provided for a five-year contract with two, single year renewal options. Those options were exercised and AVI has continued service through the end of the 2009-10 academic year.
The new contract, announced this week, gives AVI an initial five-year contract with five additional one-year renewal options that are to be decided on a year-by-year basis.
"AVI's bid proposal this year was very similar to its approach during the 2002 process. The proposal was creative and very personalized to our campus," Pincek said. "One example is a Club Rock weekend events programming plan that would run an entire semester. A 'Chef's Series' is another possibility AVI proposed and the new contract proposes collaborations with many departments and organizations such as the University Program Board, Residence Life and the Office of Multicultural Development."
The new plan includes a number of improvements to the campus dining halls, a marketing plan for food service operations, nutrition information and services and a series of collaborative events that link food service to campus programming, Pincek said.
"We are in a very transitional stage at this point, with major renovations planned for Weisenfluh Dining Hall and the upcoming construction of a new Student Union," she said. AVI's responsibilities will include food service operations in the new Student Union. Work has already begun on plans for the Starbucks and Quaker Steak and Lube operations. A food court is also planned for the new building, including a number of in-house branded concepts.
"We are also considering offering Quaker Steak and Lube food at N. Kerr Thompson Stadium during home football games," Pincek said.
As part of its contract proposal, AVI cited a number of "firsts" it has shared with SRU during its seven-years of operations. A few examples include the first:
� T&B Naturally organic, fair-trade coffee bar located in Bailey Library;
� Rising Stars student leadership recognition program;
� "Get Fresh" Web site and marketing plan;
� "Stealth Health" dining initiative program;
� Food Intolerance" dining area, now a standard across the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; and
� On-campus sustainability coordinator and use of re-usable eco-tainers for take-out options.
Pincek said a new meal plan structure for students living in campus residence halls or electing to enroll in meal plans while living off campus is also included in the new contract.
"Students will find the new plans incorporate more flex fund options, even within the various 19- 14- or 10-meals per week plans. With the new options of where to eat, students will want more flexibility, so they can make use of the meal plans at the various dining halls, coffee shops, the current University Union and the future Student Union," she said.
"There will also be a new 'Unlimited Access' plan available for students," Pincek said.
The contract proposals called for a variety of information, including suggestions on the type of foods that should be served once Weisenfluh is remodeled. A timeline for the remodeling has not yet been determined, but is expected to be completed by fall semester 2012 at the latest.
"As part of the proposal evaluation criteria, we asked bidders to provide their vision for the renovated Weisenfluh Dining Hall. We want the facility to be unique, have its own identity, and AVI was very creative in its approach," Pincek said. AVI's proposal has called for Mediterranean, Pan-Asian, fresh Mexican foods and a grill concept with a variety of hand-formed burgers and signature sandwiches. Each food platform will feature made-to-order and healthy choice food items, such as baked French fries rather than deep fried, Pincek said.
AVI Fresh is the Education Division of AVI FoodSystems. Founded in 1960, the company is independently owned and family operated. Other education facilities nearby serviced by AVI Fresh include Thiel College, California University, Mercer City Schools and The Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry. Other well-known operations include the Cleveland Clinic Health System, Wellesley College and Sarah Lawrence College.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.