(Rock Hill, S.C.) –- At the start of the semester, Winthrop University began a new 10-year contract with Sodexo as the provider for dining services.
Aramark had been the provider over the past three decades, but in July Winthrop decided it would not be renew its contract.
Sodexo took over the dining services on Aug. 1 and had only a few days, until Aug. 4, to set everything up for the new school year.
The short time frame caused many issues for Sodexo, according to Bryan Harriss, general manager of Dining Services.
As a result, a number of students have complained about what they say are limited food options, increased costs and a lack of variety under the new provider.
Some students have contacted Harriss directly and others have petitioned to make a change.
One student-led petition titled “I Pay Too Much For (expletive) Food” had been making the rounds on social media and gathered over 150 signatures before being taken down.
The petition mentions complaints that included additional charges for some food items, a lack of variety on the menu, no longer allowing meal swipes to pay for friends and a lack of to-go boxes.
Bailey Dubbs, a student at Winthrop, said although she was not a fan of the services in years prior, she feels like Sodexo is a step down for the university.
“We no longer have the grab and go options in Digs (DiGiorgio Campus Center). So if I just need to quickly grab a sandwich, I don’t have that option,” said Dubbs.
“You can have classes back to back on Monday from like 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and I think that there needs to be more options to accommodate the schedules. What is the point in paying for a meal plan if you actually don’t have the time to use it?”
However, Dubbs said Sodexo has made progress with making the food service more efficient by adding kiosks at Chick-fil-A to help eliminate lines.
According to Harriss, Sodexo is aware of the negative student feedback and is working to fix the issues.
They have already begun making changes, he said, such as adding more food options in the Thomson Cafeteria and eliminating extra charges for food items, such as cheese on sandwiches.
“Sodexo strives to provide the highest quality of food and services to our customers,” said Harriss. “We are in constant communication with the university, reviewing the feedback we receive and discussing potential changes needed based on student and university input.”