UCI’s Partnership with Aramark Collegiate Hospitality
The University of California, Irvine established a 7-year partnership (2023 – 2030) with Aramark Collegiate Hospitality DBA UCI Dining to manage and provide a quality, robust food service program to the campus community. As part of growing and managing the dining program, key focuses for the dining team include sustainability, basic needs, health & wellness, leadership development, and student employment opportunities.
For more information, visit www.ucidining.com and our FAQ section below.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What areas does UCI Dining and Aramark oversee on campus?
UCI Dining and Aramark manages the residential dining locations, most of the retail dining on campus, UCI Catering, Bren & Ballpark concessions, and Starship robots. These locations include Panda Express, Subway, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Zot N Go Market, Med Ed Café, Brandywine and The Anteatery, among others.
Other third-party partners separately operate the University Club, Café Espresso, and Garbanzo.
What are the benefits of UCI partnering with a food service provider like Aramark?
Through UCI’s partnership with Aramark, UCI continues to offer one of the lowest Housing room and board rates in the UC system while maintaining a high level of quality food and exemplary service.
More Key Benefits:
- Provides strategic ingredient sourcing power which allows for better pricing to the consumer.
- Commits to sustainable purchasing and responsible corporate practices.
- Cage-Free Eggs
- Group House Pork
- Maintain Monterey Seafood Watch Standards
- Commitment to purchasing produce from local farms.
- Pledge not to purchase from suppliers that contribute to Amazon deforestation.
- Offers each dining employee job training, advancement into management and culinary careers, and experiential learning opportunities.
- Has knowledgeable food service experience and can provide expertise in:
- Implementing new food and concept trends.
- Contracting with national and local brands to bring to campus.
- Designing and building new dining facilities.
- Administers capital investments to renovate existing dining facilities and build new dining facilities to account for the increasing population at UCI.
Furthermore, Aramark has been consistently recognized for being a leader in diversity and inclusion. Recently, Aramark was noted as one of the “Best Companies for Diversity” by BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine for the 9th consecutive year. Aramark has also received the accolade Top 50 employer by CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine for the 9th consecutive year and earned a score of 100 on the Disability Equality Index. With this perfect score Aramark was awarded the title of “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” for the 7th consecutive year.
What does this 7-year partnership mean for UCI?
Here are a few items to look forward to with this partnership:
- Dining Locations
- New food concepts will be developed and opened in the existing dining facilities.
- UCI will continue to have existing national brands on campus (i.e., Starbucks, Panda Express, Subway, Jamba, etc.)
- UCI Dining will continue to be a leader in the UCs in sustainability and will continue to drive measurable success through AASHE (Advancement of Sustainability and Higher Education) STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™), NACUFS (National Association of College & University Food Services) (National Association of College & University Food Services), Sierra’s Coolest Schools, and more.
- UCI Dining will continue hosting regular sustainability education events around food waste, low carbon meals, reusable options, and local partnerships.
- UCI Dining proudly support the sustainability goals of the UC Office of the President (UCOP) in reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the sustainable foods we offer, and reducing water usage
- UCI Dining will expand our offerings of Coolfood Meals served across campus to lower the carbon footprint of the dining program.
- Basic Needs
- Zot N Go Market will continue to participate in the SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits program.
- UCI Dining will continue to partner with the Basic Needs Center, UCI Social Workers, and various organizations on campus to provide food and resources to students facing food insecurity.
- In partnership with UCI, qualified students can apply to a scholarship fund provided by Aramark that can be used for their basic housing and food needs.
How did UCI choose Aramark as the food service provider?
As a public university, all procurement activities must be conducted in an open and fair environment that promotes competition among prospective suppliers. UCI Procurement Services conducted a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) which invites suppliers to submit proposals demonstrating their technical expertise or specializations in their services. The award is primarily based on the most advantageous balance of quality, service, performance, cost, among other elements as defined by the University of California Schools (UCs). The Request for Proposal process includes a committee of campus stakeholders to review the bidders’ proposals and score the proposals based on the Best Value Evaluation Method.
For more information on the RFP Process, visit UCI Procurement Services webpage: https://procurement.uci.edu/procurement/competitive-bidding.php
Were students part of the process of selecting a food service provider?
The RFP committee consisted of representatives from the Division of Student Affairs, Division of Finance and Administration, Academic Affairs, and Intercollegiate Athletics. The representatives consisted of students, faculty, and staff. The committee included student representatives from the Associated Undergraduate and Graduate Student Government, Student Center Advisory Board, and the Resident Housing Advisory group.
What sustainability initiatives is Aramark involved with?
Aramark developed the Be Well. Do Well. Sustainability Platform, where their goals are to enable equity and wellbeing for millions, and to promote planetary health on their path to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information, visit https://www.aramark.com/environmental-social-governance.
At UCI, Dining Services and Aramark have focused on implementing sustainable practices in the dining operations. These efforts have been recognized by the National Association of Colleges and University Food Services (NACUFS) who awarded UCI Dining the Grand Prize award for Sustainability in 2019 and most recently the Silver Award for Outreach and Education in Sustainability from NACUFS in 2023.
Below are some of the sustainability programs and initiatives:
- City of Irvine’s California Green Business Network
- One Mile Meals
- Wiping Out Waste
- Love Your Food, Don’t Waste It
- Reusable To-Go Program
- Reducing Single-Use Plastics
- Local Purchasing
- Local Brands and Suppliers (La Finca Bonita, Los Nietos, Café Espresso)
- Fair Trade University
- Coolfood Meals
Visit https://uci.campusdish.com/Sustainability/WhatWeAreDoing to learn more.
Are all Dining Staff employed by Aramark?
86% of dining staff are employed by UCI and consist of:
- Full-time Career Staff
- AFSCME Represented Staff
- Student Staff
14% of dining staff are employed by Aramark
- Culinary Leadership
- Career Management
- Support Staff
UCI Dining is proud to have retained many talented student workers. Over 50% of our current staff began working in the department while they were students attending UCI. After graduation, they were promoted to management positions under Aramark.
Isn’t Aramark in the corrections business? Why and where are they involved?
Aramark Correctional Services provides food and commissary services for justice-impacted individuals, officers and staff, and visitors in state and county facilities, as well as supplying bulk commissary products to corrections facilities across the nation. Aramark believes that all people deserve healthy, nutritious meals whether they are students, community members, or individuals who are incarcerated.
We understand and respect the passionate debate around our nation’s prison system and its disproportionate impact on underserved communities. This disproportionate impact is one reason we are committed to being part of the solution to the extent we can help, whether it is through our food service, our nationally recognized IN2WORK program, or serving as a “second chance” employer post-release.
Aramark does not employ incarcerated individuals. Aramark staff members in correctional facilities often work alongside justice-impacted men and women who are designated by the facility to work in shared spaces. These facilities—not Aramark—provide assignments and determine any compensation they receive.
For more information: Our Corrections Work Matters: Frequently Asked Questions – Aramark
How do students provide feedback for dining?
UCI Dining welcomes all feedback provided for us to improve our services to the campus community. Here are some of the ways we welcome feedback: