The Kentucky State University Board of Regents voted to approve a contract with Gourmet Services of Louisiana, Inc. to provide food services at the institution.
“We are very excited about this food service contract,” Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II said. “This will move us from a dining hall to a scattered retail concept, so students will have food available throughout the day.”
President Brown said some of the scattered options brought to the flex area in the Carl M. Hill Student Center will include hamburgers, pizza and smoothies.
“We have tried very hard to make sure this is very student focused and that students were going to be very pleased with this contract,” Dr. Elaine Farris, chairperson for the Board of Regents, said. “I’m very pleased that we finally got to a place where our students will have something they can be very proud of and they can be fed nutritious foods.”
Douglas R. Allen II, vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer, said Gourmet’s option of a scattered retail concept is what the University was looking for.
“That itself allows the students more flexibility,” Allen said. “We wanted to get away from the traditional nine to five.”
The contract includes over $1 million of incentives from Gourmet, including approximately $400,000 of capital renovations for the dining area and $250,000 in scholarships over the course of five years.
Some of the capital renovations include new furniture, new paint, new branding and new food supplies.
“I think it’s going to be great for the students, faculty and staff,” Allen said. “It’s a win-win. I’m greatly pleased with the outcome of the contract.”
Michael Weaver Jr., student regent and Student Government Association president, said Gourmet was the best fit for the students and the University as a whole.
“College students stay up late, so it’s a really great thing for us to not have the restriction of having limited dining hours,” Weaver said.
Gourmet will offer a wide variety of foods, he said.
“Whether it’s for people who are vegetarian or vegan or who want to watch what they’re eating, we have those options,” he said.
President Brown also noted that students will be allocated dollars per day and they can spend those dollars in any of the retail locations.
“It’s an amazing contract for an institution our size,” President Brown said.
President Brown also noted that a potential discounted rate is in the works for state employees.
“For those who are not aware, the dining halls in the buildings that are adjacent to our campus have been closed in the most recent state budget,” President Brown.
The contract includes a student advisory board focusing on the quality of food and menu options. Other perks include student employment, management training, guaranteed jobs for students at the end of graduation.
“The contract will also include a concept that will be launching called Bred Eats, which is similar to Uber Eats,” President Brown said. “Whereas students, faculty, staff will be able to order online and a work-study student will deliver the food to them.”