Months after UTM’s Hospitality and Retail Services awarded a new food services contract to Chartwells, UTMSU is planning to lobby for changes to the contract so student groups are no longer required to use Chartwells when booking rooms outside the Student Centre.

Chartwells is the same food provider that has been at UTM since the 2004/05 year.

In an email to The Medium, UTMSU president Ebi Agbeyegbe discussed the new Chartwells contract and the issue of food security on campus.

“The UTM Food Centre has witnessed a surge in student usage because of the unaffordable food options,” said UTMSU president Ebi Agbeyegbe, who was a member of the Request-for-Proposal and Food Service Advisory Committee. “The university administration has failed to address the growing concern related to food security.”

According to Agbeyegbe, UTMSU plans to lobby against the exclusivity of Chartwells’ contract. Currently, food ordered in rooms outside the Student Centre must come from Chartwells.

“We have lobbied the university administration to change the food services contract with Chartwells to permit student groups to purchase more authentic food from a list of approved vendors,” said Agbeyegbe.

According to the contract, UTM will earn 17.5 percent of monthly net sales to UTM and if Chartwells earns more than $11 million in net sales annually, Chartwells will pay 21.5 percent of its net sales on the exceeding amount, with 17.5 percent paid directly to UTM and four percent to a “Program Enhancement Fund”.

The new contract is set to expire in five years on May 31, 2020, which is half the term of the previous Chartwells’ contract.

The new contract, dated May 22 and signed on June 1, includes “key performance indicators”, which according to the Hospitality and Retail Services department, will judge the quality of Chartwells’ operation. Indicators include customer service, performance reviews, as well as attention to sustainability and marketing.

According to an announcement posted on the UTM Hospitality and Retail Services website, if Chartwells does not meet the set KPIs, the new contract will put UTM in the position “to hold Chartwells accountable for implementing immediate and decisive corrective action”.

According to the new contract, the KPI listing is set to be reviewed with UTM three times annually and will be scored out of 40 points by both Chartwells and UTM. A low score will mean that Chartwells pays UTM $5,000 as a penalty, while a high score will require UTM to award Chartwells with $5,000. No financial transaction will take place between the two parties if the score results in neither award nor penalty.

“Chartwells’ proposal, in comparison to the other bidders, provided the UTM with the best plan to meet the key success factors as laid out in the [RFP],” said Paul Donoghue, UTM’s chief administrative officer.

The RFP was established by Kaizen Foodservice Planning and Design Inc., the company that was also responsible for developing the new food service contract among other tasks. Three eligible corporations applied and each bid was evaluated against criteria developed from Kaizen’s community engagement methods, which included consultation with the UTM community through focus groups, surveys, and other methods.

Unlike the previous contract between Chartwells and UTM, which featured significant portions of the document blacked out and not available to the public, the new contract can be found in full on the Hospitality and Retail Services webpage.