MIT selects Compass Group for new dining contract

MIT has selected Compass Group and its subsidiaries Bon Appétit and Restaurant Associates to manage its food and dining contract for the next seven years. The new contract will begin July 1.

In an email to all students, Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson wrote that there were three companies bidding for the dining contract, and Compass “presented the best program.”

The two other companies who submitted bids were Aramark and Sodexo, according to MIT News.

Students can expect some changes to dining in the fall. “Compass proposed some great new cuisines for house dining, like smoked barbecue, Mongolian grill and stir fry, and hearth-style flatbreads,” Mark Hayes, director of campus dining, told MIT News. “Meal plan holders will also have more grab-n-go breakfast options, performance bowls, and enhanced late-night dining options.”

“Major changes” to the Lobdell Food Court on the second floor of the student center are also expected to start beginning in the contract’s second year, according to MIT News.

Compass will be working with food insecurity working groups around campus, and the SwipeShare program is going to continue, according to Hayes in an interview with The Tech.

The new contract will also bring new management to MIT, Hayes said. Dining at MIT is expanding, which means that more staff are being hired.

In March, a petition was started at McCormick dining to “Keep All Dining Staff,” as residents were concerned that the head chefs and other members of the management would be replaced due to the changes.

The current staff in dining buildings will not be replaced, Hayes reassured.  

A restructured meal plan system that includes meals per semester options and dining dollars is also part of the new contract. The team working on the plans worked closely with students to make sure the plans suited students’ needs.

Hayes said that students also want a plan that offers around 160 meals per semester, since there is a jump from 125 to 190, and they are now working to include this.

Dining will be reviewed on a quarterly basis, and the team will continue to seek feedback from students and student groups, Hayes said.