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It’s Time to Privatize DDS

A reader writes in to let us know that other schools do things differently from high-cost-low-quality-much-disliked Dartmouth Dining Service:

I’m a follower of Dartblog who has never written before, but this one prompted a reply, not only because you featured one of our favorite food servers here in Concord, NH, Boloco’s Ben Nawn, but also because it appears Dartmouth is ripe for the kind of student-initiated foodie takeover sweeping the nation, in which huge food service companies are ousted in favor of real food from a clever chef.

Our daughter, now in MS working for FOOD CORPS, and others in the class of 2012 at tiny Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA (the “other Cornell”) worked very hard to replace Sodexo, the pricey and somewhat bland food service at their college with one far healthier and responsive.

Below is the college’s announcement when it happened.

Keep up the great work!

Cornell Dining Comp1.jpg

Of course, Dartmouth Dining Services is not run by a “huge food service company”; the situation is even worse: an institution of higher education managed by academics and their subordinates is trying to run a dining service that can serve thousands of meals per day. The results are predictably appalling and expensive.

Bon Appétit seems to be the real deal. Its website announces the following attributes of its food service sites:

Bon Appétit Management Company is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, museums, and other specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, CA, we operate more than 500 cafés in 32 states. All Bon Appétit food is cooked from scratch, including sauces, stocks, and soups. Widely recognized as a pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, we are proud to be the first food service company to:

— Cook 100% from scratch
— Directly support small, local farms
— Serve only sustainable seafood
— Address antibiotics overuse in our meat supply
— Serve only cage-free shell eggs
— Tackle food’s role in climate change
— Advocate for farmworkers’ rights
— Commit to pork raised without gestation crates
— Serve only third-party verified humanely raised ground beef

Geez. Wouldn’t it be amazing if students went to Class of ‘53 Commons because they wanted to do so, rather than because the College’s rules forced them to go.

Addendum: The Bon Appétit company has produced an engaging video:

Addendum: The success of the King Arthur Flour café in Baker is an example of what dining at the College could become in the hands of a creative, entrepreneurial operator.

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