Photo by Brandon King. Chad Ouellette unloads food from Sysco. Dining Services signed on with Sysco as a new distributor August 1st.

When students bite into the Maize French fries or line up for Thanksgiving dinner, they’re probably not thinking of the quality, the sustainability or about the reputation of the provider. But these are just a few of the details that the Concordia College dining services see to when choosing a provider for all their food needs.

On Aug. 1, 2011, Concordia received their first delivery of Sysco food products from Sysco North Dakota, kicking off a three-year agreement ending July 31, 2014. Sysco was chosen out of four competitive bids, including the previous supplier, Upper Lakes Food, which had been providing Concordia with its food for the past 11 years.

Senior Hannah Tower works for Dining Services as a nutrition assistant

“I personally wouldn’t have realized that they changed companies. I can’t tell the difference. It still tastes like the same, which I guess is a good thing,” Tower said.

“We undergo periodical bids to ensure we are getting the best price available,” said Janet Paul Rice, associate director of Dining Services. “But Sysco was chosen based on many factors; it wasn’t just about the money.”

One of the reasons Sysco was chosen was based on their reputation. Even though it is a large company that stretches nationwide, Lisa Skari, program sales manager at Sysco North Dakota, ensures individualized care is valued.

“We pride ourselves in learning all aspects of our customers’ business and using our resources to help our customers be successful in their goals,” Skari said. “Our vision is to be our customers’ most valued and trusted business partner.”

An example of Sysco meeting Concordia’s needs would be by providing the popular Bosco sticks. The cheesy breadsticks aren’t a favorite in many other places, but Sysco made sure to have enough in stock so students don’t have to worry about going without.

Another thing students don’t have to worry about is their favorite menu items changing in taste or nutrition. Most large corporations, like Sysco and Upper Lakes Food, carry common manufacturers, like Heinz ketchup, so product selection doesn’t vary.

Tower also worked on reentering the new nutrition information into the dining services database, known as NetNutrition, which provides the information seen on the television screens located at every station in the dining center.

“Since we changed, certain foods had to be reentered, but there hasn’t been a significant change in the values in nutrition,” Tower said.

Regardless of the supplier, Dining Services will continue to serve the same meals with the same service.

“I think we have phenomenal food services,” Tower said. “We have well known chefs and a ton of items for specialized diets. I really like how the TV screens tell you the nutrition value so I know the quality of food that I’m eating.”

Tower also added that her favorite meal was the steamed broccoli with the herb chicken breast.

 

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