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Belmont Announces Extension with Sodexo

The back of the R. Milton and Denice Johnson Building, Isaac Wetzel

Belmont announced a new five-year agreement with the food supplier Sodexo to extend its services to 2029 on Thursday. 


“We felt that the absolute best choice we could make to keep us on target for that goal was Sodexo,” said Keith Chapman, senior director of auxiliary services at Belmont about the university’s goal to modernize. 


“We're trying very hard to come into alignment with the university's goal of being a world-leading Christ-centered university.” 


The decision also came with the announcement of changed meal plans that are now slightly more expensive but will come with new additional add-ons to some plans like guest passes, a birthday cake and dining dollars. 


Sodexo, which has been Belmont’s supplier for around 30 years, hires employees, caters food to Belmont events and supplies food for eight of Belmont’s restaurants, including Harrington Place Dining, Bruin Bites, Starbucks and Corner Court.  


Belmont will extend its contract even with criticism from some students about the quality of food and a controversial fall semester, where the caf scored a 72 on a health and safety examination due to a broken dishwasher. 


However, this was addressed and in a follow-up examination, the caf received a 97 on Nov. 7. 


Sodexo has also put other steps in place to assure safe, quality food, said Chuck Couture, the resident district manager.  


“I've also hired a quality assurance and safety manager, and she's already on she started in January. So that was happening regardless of the outcome of the contract,” said Couture. 


Other changes include a new executive chef and an on-campus dietitian, who is now being brought in full-time and will be available to aid students who have dietary restrictions, he said. 


The decision to keep Sodexo was made after a survey group, which included Belmont students, parents and staff, reviewed proposals from outside food vendors which included Aramark, Sodexo, Harvest Table and Bon Appétit.  


A recommendation was made and received by the executive committee based on the group’s responses and scores which led to the decision to extend with Sodexo. 


Student Government Association President Carter Barnett appointed Chief of Staff Frank Reed to the committee to ensure that student concerns were voiced among the groups. 


“Reed advocated for the expansion of dining hours, which have been already implemented. SGA will continue to voice student concerns about dining services to administration,” Barnett said in a statement. 


With this extension, the management team on campus is aiming to continue listening to student concerns and improving with changes like the meal equivalency program and extending hours of dining options around campus. 


“Sodexo is developing a street team, which is a team made up of students who will be out talking to other students and other faculty, staff about the things going on in the dining service and being much more of an ear and a conduit for new ideas and concerns,” said Chapman. 


Some additional changes that could be on the horizon are a 24-hour grab-and-go market, full-service coffee and some additional dining options in the new Caldwell building. 


This article was written by Braden Simmons

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