Michelle Marchante/News Director
A bid war for FIU’s dining service is underway as the University’s contract with food vendor Aramark is set to expire in June.
The University’s initial contract with the newly chosen “Successful Vendor” will be for 10 years, with the University having the option to renew the contract for two 5-year terms, according to the “invitation to negotiate” document the University released on Tuesday, Jan. 16, for interested vendors.
The vendor, according to the ITN, should have an established record of high quality and innovative dining solutions in higher education and also have the financial base needed to operate FIU’s Dining Services.
An annual “Miami Flavor” event, a movie theater bistro and secret menu items are examples of “innovative” concepts FIU would like interested vendors to build upon in their proposals, the ITN states.
Proposals should also include a creative concept design for the new dining facility the University plans to create for the Parkview Housing II project, which is expected to have occupancy in fall 2020.
However, everything is subject to negotiation, according to Rodolfo Vila, assistant vice president of business services at FIU. He was able to confirm to Student Media back in February, however, that the new vendor contract would only affect the Modesto Maidique and Biscayne Bay campuses.
Most of the MMC and BBC dining options currently have contracts with Aramark, but there are exceptions, according to Vila.
The University’s College of Engineering and Computing food vendors, for example, wouldn’t be affected by the decision because they are currently part of another contract with Nasa Holdings, he said. Vending machines and the University’s deal with Pepsi would also not be affected.
But the University, the ITN states, will have the ability to offer the chosen vendor the opportunity to expand to other locations such as the University’s College of Engineering and Computing at any point in the contract term.
As part of the competitive solicitation process, an evaluation committee, which is comprised of different University members, will soon be reviewing and selecting a shortlist of applicants in the coming weeks to move on to the presentation rounds, which are expected to begin on Tuesday, April 24, according to the tentative ITN schedule.
When contacted by Student Media, Chandra Nix, a University procurement agent involved in the process, said she was unable to release the names of the committee members as part of the exception found in the Florida Statutes for public records section 119.071 Item 2.
Once presentations are completed, negotiations will begin and the evaluation committee will then provide a final recommendation on Monday, June 18.
The University’s chosen vendor will then be announced on the website two days later on Friday, June 20, two weeks before Aramark’s contract with the University is set to expire on Monday, June 30. This announcement, referred to in the ITN as “Intent to Award,” will be posted for 72 hours, excluding weekends, federal holidays and FIU holidays, to give interested parties the opportunity to review the decision.
However, these dates are tentative and depend on how fast the process is, according to Nix.
Based on the ITN, the “Successful Vendor” is expected to begin on Aug. 1, 2018.
Feature Image by Michelle Marchante/PantherNOW