The company has been commissioned by UCL to provide quality, diverse food services at its Bloomsbury campus in the capital. Sodexo will provide retail catering, vending and hospitality services to 25,000 students and 9,000 university staff from 26 January.
The contract was awarded to Sodexo as UCL moved to ensure quality and consistency for its staff and students across its core central London estate. It is for three-and-a-half years and is worth £15.7 million in total or £4.5 million per annum. The contract also has two one-year extension options.
Founded in 1826, UCL is England’s third oldest university and draws students from 155 countries across the globe. It is a world-class institution which is currently ranked fourth in the QS World University Rankings.
Internationally inspired menus and eclectic, casual dining offers, with a focus on innovation and sustainability, are being planned by a dedicated Sodexo culinary team whose members have experience of meeting the needs of a diverse campus community.
As part of its commitment to quality, variety and diversity, Sodexo will introduce specially selected independent pop-up and street food providers as guest vendors. The aim is for a range of different offers and small to medium-sized food enterprises to come together to provide a unique and diverse campus experience. The umbrella brand for Sodexo-provided and vendor-managed services will be ‘The Food Federation’.
Sodexo’s ethical coffee brand, Aspretto, which is triple certified (Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and organic) will be introduced across all outlets.
David M Smith, UCL’s head of facilities, stated: ‘We look forward to working with Sodexo which will provide a range of offerings and price bandings, additional vending machines, fine dining for events and extended opening hours to suit staff and student work and study patterns. Additionally, Sodexo has excellent green credentials, supporting UCL’s sustainable food policy.’
Jane Bristow, managing director of Sodexo Education, said: ‘We are delighted that an institution as prestigious as UCL has chosen Sodexo to provide its catering and hospitality services. This latest success is testament to our agility and expertise in identifying ways to meet the complex and diverse needs of clients in the university sector.
‘We are currently developing exciting, innovative, varied and sustainably-sourced, fresh food offers aimed at providing value and flexibility for students. Key to this approach has been Sodexo’s focus on researching student preferences through the Sodexo University Lifestyle Survey and delivering services through an operational team solely dedicated to the university sector.
‘With thousands of students and staff to feed everyday, we look forward to the new challenge and delivering an excellent service.’
The contract will see Sodexo providing a bursary fund to support work placements for UCL students. Also planned are a range of carbon reduction schemes along with innovative software that will measure the consumption of electricity in all catering outlets across the UCL estate.
Sodexo has more than 50 years’ experience in the university sector and has a healthy portfolio of clients. This latest contract win comes just a year after Sodexo secured a five-year £25 million catering and hospitality deal with Brunel University, one of the largest of its type within the university market.