Texas A&M looks to outsource dining services

Chancellor seeks to reassure staff among worries of layoffs.

Feb. 27—Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp on Saturday sought to reassure university employees who fear losing their jobs under a possible privatization of services, but he offered no guarantee.

Sharp met with the media at the John Connally Building a day after more than 700 workers packed Rudder Theatre on Friday to voice concerns about Sharp's plan to seek proposals for outsourcing much of facilities services and dining services. The chancellor was in Galveston for a prior engagement and did not attend that meeting.

Though Sharp admitted there is no written guarantee that employees will keep their jobs, he told reporters that the staff at A&M will benefit from the change.

"When you are losing a million bucks a year, I would say that the chances are greater that employees will be laid off," Sharp said of the dining services operation.

In examining other universities that have privatized their dining programs, Sharp said, "In almost none of these instances did anyone lose their jobs. They went to work for a private company at same salaries, basically, same benefits, same health care."

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
unsung heroes graphic

Febin Bellamy, a senior at Georgetown University, is the founder of Unsung Heroes, a nonprofit that features service workers on college campuses in man-on-the-street-style Facebook interviews. This year, Bellamy is working with a dozen schools to launch their own chapters of the storytelling platform. Here’s what he’s learned about staff shoutouts.

Q: Why did you decide to start Unsung Heroes?

A: One day I started a conversation with a custodial worker in the business school that I would see all the time. I learned that we had a lot of similarities; for instance, we both wanted to...

Ideas and Innovation
bolognese sauce

We’re trying to bring scratch cooking to all the elementary schools, but we’re taking it dish by dish. Right now, we satellite a lot of the dishes out. This month we made a Bolognese from scratch, and went to each of the schools to talk to them about the process and see if they could implement it. It helps us find out the hurdles and what they are going to need to make it work.

Ideas and Innovation
rolling silverware

Ensuring that employees regularly complete the busywork missing from their daily checklist can be a challenge, but these tasks often help an operation run efficiently with fewer unexpected costs. At Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Regional Executive Chef Dustin Cochran has found a solution to ensure his walk-in coolers always have a clean vent. Cochran starts with a thorough cleaning of the vent, then slips a hairnet over it to catch the dust. Instead of getting employees to deep clean the vents, they need only replace the hairnet.

Ideas and Innovation
chicken and waffles

Our elementary menu is currently riding the breakfast-anytime advertising trend by offering Breakfast for Lunch every Tuesday. It ranks as our highest participation, and it was a great way for us to introduce chicken and waffles inspired by an IHOP dish.

FSD Resources