With the expiration of Georgetown’s contract with Marriott Food Services at the conclusion of next spring, students and university administrators are considering whether or not to hire a new food service to supply Georgetown Dining Services.
Ever since the building of the Leavey Student Center in 1986, arriott has fostered a working relationship with Georgetown, with responsibility for operating the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center and Hoya Court.
Ten years ago, when Marriott liquidated the rest of its university accounts, the hotel and resort chain started to cater Georgetown’s cafeteria services after the merging of the university’s contract into a single plan with jurisdiction over the hotel, conference center and cafeteria contracts.
“As the dining contract expires at the end of next May, the first semester will be devoted to determining which options are best for students,” Eamonn Carr (COL ’06), GUSA secretary for housing and facilities, said.
Carr said that the university plans on keeping Marriott, parting ways or doing a “split” and creating competition between different food services.
“We have to keep in mind that a company that deals with a top-notch facility such as [the Leo O’Donovan, S.J., Dining Hall] needs a group that can keep up with top demand in one facility,” Carr said, alluding to other universities whose food services operate in a variety of smaller dining halls.
Carr said that many factors will be considered in the final decision whether or not stay with Marriott. However, he assured that changing Marriott’s contract would not hurt its relationship with Georgetown and that the relationship will also not affect Georgetown’s willingness to provide good options for its students.
“There are so many options for change. . We are investigating the way food is and could be served, with the interest in expediting the time for students,” he said.
The writing of a new dining services contract will be discussed in a food committee of administrators and students, where student consideration will be heavily weighted.
“Students rest assured, feedback will be very important when writing the new dining contract,” Carr said.
Changes are also soon in place with Hoya Court, the fast food space in Leavey currently operated by Marriott. The food court will reopen next fall under a new vendor with new restaurant choices.
“These places will be restaurants that can be found in any shopping mall across America,” Carr said.
The names of the restaurants occupying Hoya Court will be announced as soon as worker contracts are settled under new living wage requirements.
“Right now it would be too risky to enter into contracts that are not yet resolved under new policies,” Carr said. “These intricacies and details are still being investigated by the Office of Auxiliary Services to comply with the policy.”
Margie Bryant, associate vice president for auxiliary services, is currently in the process of settling contracts for workers who would represent the future outlets of Hoya Court.
“Until we work out living wage contracts with workers, we will not be able to release any information about the composition of the restaurant vendors at this time,” Bryant said.
Bryant will continue to finalize contracts over the summer to coordinate with the new academic year this upcoming fall.
“The student food committee will be updated of our progress throughout the summer and will be notified as soon as something will be released,” she said.
Because the Leavey Center is university property, it is Georgetown’s responsibility to determine the contracts of the new restaurants.
“There is that rumor out there that Marriott owns the Leavey Center,” Carr said. “This is not true, as ultimate control rests with Georgetown.”
Carr added that Hoya Court would likely be ready for complete operation in September.
“Coordinating the opening of the new Hoya Court with the opening of school is within an optimistic, realistic view,” Carr said.
Administrators and students have also begun the process of investigating what the future holds for Darnall Dining Hall, which served a much greater role in campus dining services before the opening of O’Donovan Hall.
“Darnall’s attendance is dropping,” Carr said. “We are looking into new dining options for Darnall, paying high attention to student feedback.”