The University of Memphis announced earlier this month they will be partnering with Chartwells as their new food distributor and catering provider starting in the Fall 2019 semester.
Raajkumar Kurapati, the chief financial officer for the UofM, said he believes this will be a big step for Memphis as they have announced several new ideas that will be put in place.
“We take pride in our commitment to innovation and look forward to bringing new concepts and programs to campus each year,” Kurapati said. “We understand that tastes and preference are always evolving, so our dining program will always develop along with the campus.”
Chartwells will provide an on-campus barbecue option and expand Chick-fil-A’s current menu once they become the UofM’s food provider this fall. The university has reported the new deal with the food service company will include not only a new barbeque restaurant in the University Center and an expansion of Chick-Fil-A including a full-service menu but also a makeover and renovation of the Tiger Den and food trucks offering local cuisine.
Kurapati said the UofM and Chartwells are currently in discussions to open up one of Chartwells’ popular internal BBQ concepts called “Smoked.” He mentioned they are also working with local partners to showcase their authentic rubs and spices as bringing in their partners and sponsors occasionally to support the local community with their own twist.
“Chartwells will bring its fresh made-from-scratch menus, wellness programs, engaging dining events and specials offers to the Tiger Den this coming fall,” Kurapati said. “More information on our long-term renovation will be released in the coming months as plans and designs are finalized.”
Other additions that will be included from this new partnership will be point-of-sale (POS) system upgrades, a new mobile ordering app and even ordering kiosks. Dieticians will also be hired to guide menus and provide advice on healthy eating choices. There will also be new opportunities for student scholarships and internships. The addition of the BBQ restaurant and the expansion of Chick-Fil-A and the Tiger Den will most likely increase a demand for more student employees.
UofM sophomore Christian Reyna said he is very excited to see how different his experience will be with the new partnership next semester.
“The food this past year I felt was just alright, and I can’t complain too much with the $300 for dining dollars I get as it is,” Vance said. “I just really hope that we can find a way for these new restaurants to incorporate the really good food that we have here. I also hope we can use our dining dollars because I really doubt I would spend my own money on barbecue when I can just get a footlong sub at Subway with my dining dollars.”
This will be the end of a 30-year partnership with Aramark. UofM president M. David Rudd also took the opportunity in the press release email about the switch to recognize Aramark for their relationship as well as their cooperation for a smooth transition to Chartwells.
“We will see some exciting changes in on-campus dining,” Rudd said. “Changes that recognize that dining service is a critical part of the broader community experience.”