Big changes are coming to Miami food — and it’s more than just the food
If you’ve been to Armstrong Student Center this semester, you might have noticed that things are a little different.
Sumeshi and Toasted Bagels are gone, Red Zone is out of burgers, and there are plenty of new foods to choose from. Even the pizza is different.
The reason for these changes is Miami University’s decision to outsource its dining services to Aramark Corporation, a large dining service provider. The changeover took place on June 1st, with the changes taking full effect in the autumn.
Meghan Lolli, senior speech pathology and audiology major in Miami, said the ordering feels more streamlined with the transition from GET ordering to ordering in conjunction dig lift.
“I feel like everything is a little more organized,” Lolli said. “I like that you can see how Grubhub can track things like your order number and the wait time for food, and I feel like ordering is now organized in a sense that it’s much more time efficient.”
But the postponement hasn’t just impacted wait times.
Jeff Mills, a representative of the Miami Employees’ Housing and Dining Union, said the outsourcing means Aramark employees now work directly with employees at Miami restaurants.
“Miami still has its Miami employees at the restaurant, but Aramark also has Aramark employees at the restaurant,” Mills said. “Sometimes it gets a little complicated, and it’s a little weird because Aramark employees have different wages and benefits than Miami employees.”
Mills said the transition in expectations and jobs could be difficult for some restaurant workers after years of stability.
“It’s a bumpy transition [for Miami employees], honestly,” Mills said. “When you’ve worked in one place for 20 or 25 years and see an outside company take over, the natural feeling is to feel threatened by it. Some of these 25+ employees find it difficult to do anything else after working a certain way for so long.”
However, the transition went well on Aramark’s part.
Alex Nikas is an Aramark employee who has worked in the United States and currently helps manage Pulley Diner’s staff. He said having common goals is key to teamwork between employees at Aramark and Miami.
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“We try to be friendly overall and work together to help each other,” Nikas said. “The main thing is that we are one. We try to be on the same page and try to have the same goals, which is to have good quality and to give students a place to learn, relax and eat something fresh with quality ingredients.”
Nikas only manages Aramark staff but had high praise for the Miami restaurant staff.
“Miami people are friendly; they don’t work for us, but they help,” said Nikas. “If you’re on the street and you see someone who needs help, you help them — that’s how things work [Pulley]. All people are friendly and work in the same environment and place.”
Student jobs at Aramark are also available open for applicationwith a starting wage of $14 an hour and one free meal per shift.
While the changes that have already taken place are great, there is much more to come for the future. Scott Weir, Aramark’s vice president, detailed some of those plans in an email to The Miami Student.
“Plans are being developed to convert the King Café into a Village Juice restaurant for fall 2023, with a menu of cold-pressed juices, salads and smoothies,” Weir wrote. “We are also investigating how delivery robots could be integrated into the campus to make food deliveries [Armstrong and Bell Tower Commons].”
Other major plans for the 2023 school year include a panera bread to replace the toasted bagel and the reopening of the clock tower in fall 2023.