February 3, 2023

Dear Campus Community,

During our last Conversations That Matter session on December 7, I shared that we would continue to be transparent regarding the Aramark agreement. Thanks to your feedback through the Voice of the Customer (VOC), some of the measures Aramark have implemented are making the dining services enterprise better. Aramark has shown a commitment to improve their key performance indicators, but they acknowledge that some areas require more progress.

While improvements have been made, they have not advanced as quickly as we anticipated. As such, we have issued a Letter of Notice of Non-Compliance and/or Satisfactory Performance. This letter was issued because of concerns related to food quality, the lack of a viable marketing and communications plan, hiring practices, and management of operating expenses. Issuing this letter officially provides notice to Aramark that we will hold them accountable and helps ensure good faith negotiations. Aramark has 30 days to rectify the concerns that were outlined in the letter.

We will continue to work closely with the Aramark’s leadership and operations teams to ensure that the provisions of our agreement are met. We will keep you informed of any developments and invite you to visit CSUDH Transparency and Accountability for updates.

Thank you,

Deb Wallace

Background – CSUDH Dining

California State University, Dominguez Hills Foundation, who oversees our campus dining services, engaged in a campus hospitality assessment in December 2020. At the time, CSUDH Dining was entirely self-operated, meaning the campus managed the food service tenants, retail, and catering operations. The assessment found that that food cost was over budget and labor was higher than what the university could reasonably maintain.

Furthermore, with expanded student housing and dining needs, we could not continue the dining service model we had in place. Foundation was losing more than $1 million annually on dining services. As we moved forward, we knew we needed a strategic partner with flexible scalability.

Why Aramark?

In 2021, CSUDH Foundation began a request for proposals (RFP) process to evaluate bids from food service management companies that could support CSUDH’s immediate service needs and long term infrastructure growth.

In July 2022, after evaluating all bids, CSUDH entered into a contract with Aramark Corporation (Aramark).

Aramark’s proposal was chosen because it was the most thorough in responding to the unique needs of the institution. Further, Aramark provided the most competitive bid in costs and deliverables for the campus’s need for scalability for our recent and anticipated growth.

Campus Concerns 

Once the announcement was made to the campus, members of our community had an immediate reaction to the news based on negative press and reports. 
On October 3, the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) hosted a Town Hall to address the growing concerns and call to end the contract with Aramark. During that Town Hall, there was a request to provide the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the contract with Aramark, both of which are available below. 
Request for Proposal [PDF]
Aramark Core Contract [PDF]*
*Contract Riders - Some riders have not been included in the posted contract. CSUDH and Aramark, in accordance with our agreement, are reviewing the information within these riders. If information is deemed non-proprietary, the parties must release those portions. This review is expected to conclude by December 2, 2022, and will be posted here. 

The Conversations that Matter meetings have been providing campus community members with the opportunity to discuss CSUDH’s contract with Aramark.

Giving Feedback

Dining is central to the student experience, and these services help to contribute to student learning and success.

CSUDH recognizes that there has been concern about the new dining services contract with Aramark. Aramark’s contract with Foundation includes key performance indicators (KPIs) that they must meet related to food quality, safe working conditions, student employment and engagement, and innovation in hospitality. Foundation is committed to ensuring these KPIs are met. Food quality and the financial impact of the contract will be measured weekly. Following the November 15 Conversations that Matter and community feedback, a new Aramark team has been established on campus. 

To ensure quality of service, a Toro Dining Advisory Committee made up of students, faculty, and staff will also be created.

The primary venue for providing suggestions and feedback on Urban Mosaic Food Company’s dining program, food quality, and customer service is through their satisfaction survey here: (enter "Carson, CA" as the city in which you were served to bring up CSUDH Dining locations). 

Both Aramark and CSUDH Foundation staff review submissions daily.