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Change in WSU dining services could bring new restaurant venues

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The Sunflower

The Sunflower

The Sunflower

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Anyone who eats at restaurants in the Rhatigan Student Center at Wichita State might see some changes by maybe this summer.

“I would say there will probably be a change in food contractors,” said RSC director Kevin Konda.

Konda said he could not divulge specifics, but said a new dining services contractor would likely be replacing Sodexo Inc. when its contract ends June 30.

Dining Services General Manager Sam Cross said Sodexo, which employs about 165 dining workers in Shocker Hall and the RSC, has been the contractor for about 13 years. He said Sodexo currently contracts its services to roughly 700 universities in the United States.

Konda said the university requested contract bids for dining services and probably a company other than Sodexo has won the bid or has provided WSU with a better proposal.

A new company could mean many changes, Konda said, including new commissions, restaurants and catering policies. An official announcement could come within a couple weeks.

“If they changed all the restaurants that would be disappointing,” senior Britton Farney said. “Chick-fil-A is pretty hard to beat.”

He said he thought it would be convenient if policies changed and students and organizations could pick different catering companies for their events because it might provide more options.

If a new company were to add a new restaurant, Farney said he would prefer Chipotle, hands down.

“They would have to be open 24/7 though,” Farney said. “There would be a constant line.”

Cross said it’s possible a new dining contractor could hire all new workers and leave the old ones jobless, but that’s not likely.

“It’s customary that anybody coming in hires all of the existing staff,” Cross said.

Konda said a new contractor would need workers and they would want to keep as many current workers as they could.

“This is something that happens in this line of work all the time,” Konda said.

Cross said he is employed by Sodexo and not Wichita State, just like the other workers.

He said it’s likely he would be forced to leave WSU if a new contractor’s bid is chosen over Sodexo because he is a manager with Sodexo.

“The new vendor brings in new leadership,” Cross said.

Given the option, he said he would prefer to stay at WSU.

“I love the community, I love the school; it’s a great place,” he said.

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