Life and Bon Appetite Part Ways
Allmora announced at LIFE’s new food service provider
Kelly Milano, DC Student
Just over two years ago, Life University joined forces with Bon Appetite in an attempt to create a cafeteria that would provide healthy food at reasonable prices in a sustainable way. Bon Appetite’s motto was “Food service for a sustainable future.” It boasted high quality food that was made from scratch (as much as possible). It seemed like such a great fit. Over the last two years, however, the Café has seen many challenges from students, as well as multiple changes in management, menu, pricing and service hours. Students often complained of increasing prices with decreasing portion sizes, limited food options and poor customer service. Students began leaving campus or bringing their own lunches, rather than utilizing the Café for their meals.
On May 22, 2012, Dr. Tim Gross, Vice President for Administrative Services, announced that Life and Bon Appetite had agreed to part ways and that Life was partnering with Allmora Culinary Services. He stated that Allmora would be taking over operation of the Socrates Café and all catering functions, as well as all vending machines and concessions, on LIFE’s campus. Gross stated, “We are confident in the quality, commitment to service and overall abilities of our new partner, and look forward to a productive, creative and innovative relationship.” Allmora currently boasts over 300 locations across the state of Georgia, including several large accounts such as Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Tech and Emory, as well as several corporate accounts including Delta Airlines. Recently, Allmora catered the luncheon for the new terminal opening at Hartsfield Jackson airport, and currently they are the only culinary service allowed on the tarmac.
In trying to understand the unique challenges of meeting the demands of LIFE’s students, the question came up about gluten-free options and paleo-dietary specific choices. Head chef “Chef Bruce” had never heard of the paleo-diet concept, so he went home to investigate. In researching it, he decided to become a “Green Chef” and is now paleo-diet certified. This is just one example of the commitment and dedication that Allmora is bringing to LIFE. They believe that in order to gain and keep customers, they need to continue to find ways to offer new and exciting options.
General manager Liz McGarey says that her philosophy is simple – “Cook what they want and deliver what they want.” She states that consistency in both food quality and level of service are vitally important in maintaining customer satisfaction.
Some things that students can look forward to when the new company takes over on July 9 is more gluten-free options, perhaps a once-a-week all-gluten-free meal day, larger (and cheaper) pizzas that will easily feed two people, and a licensed Starbucks Coffee Shop in Plato II Go. Also, there will no longer be a shut down period between breakfast and lunch, and hours will be expanded to open earlier in the morning, and to stay open later in the afternoon and evening. The University is also exploring the possibility of weekend hours for Plato II Go, and the idea of meal plan options for students.
General manager McGarey also says that she is a big fan of give-aways, and that this is a large part of her promotional style. In the past, she has given away free meals, big screen TVs, and gift baskets to her loyal customers. Another option that is currently being investigated is the use of the Nutrition Exhibition Kitchen in coordination with the Nutrition Department to provide gourmet-cooking demos. The recipes will be simple to make, and use with simple ingredients, to help demonstrate that high quality healthy cooking doesn’t have to be difficult.
With this new company, the potential for the Socrates Café is unlimited, including the possibility of soft serve ice cream. (Attention Brett Kubricht, get ready to rally the troops and start the fundraising, because it’s not a cheap set up, but they are very open to the idea!!)
At the end of the announcement, Cynthia Lund, Administrative Services, thanked Bon Appetite for its service to the University, saying that Bon Appetite has been very gracious during this transition and that Denise Gilbert, Bon Appetite’s manager of the Socrates Cafe, has been great to work with.
Vital Source would like to take this opportunity to welcome Allmora to our campus. We look forward to great things ahead.
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