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UMES inks food service deal with Thompson Hospitality

  • Monday, May 12, 2014

     Thompson Hospitality will manage campus dining beginning in July

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (May 12, 2014) - The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved a contract between UMES and Thompson HospitalityServices LLC that gives the company the green light to manage the university's food services beginning in July. 

    UMES inks food service deal with Thompson HospitalityThe five-year deal calls for the Reston, Va.-based company to provide "student board meals, retail sales, internal and external catering and concessions."

    Thompson also committed to "in-kind dining facilities renovations and upgrades," including space for one or more retail food outlets and upscale venues for alumni and recruitment activities.

    "We are honored the University of Maryland Eastern Shore chose us to be its food service partner, and very excited to begin serving the UMES community", said Warren M. Thompson, President and Chairman of Thompson Hospitality. "Our team has experienced 'Hawkspitality' first-hand, and we look forward to building upon the fine foundation that UMES Dining has established and helping to take your program to the next level."

    President Juliette B. Bell said, "I am very pleased with the new options that Thompson Hospitality Services brings for providing high quality food services to the UMES community.  This is an opportunity to enhance the campus dining experience for everyone."

    Students increasingly have expressed a desire to have a broader range of dining options, including food that falls in the category of "healthy eating," administrators said.

    As part of ongoing reviews of campus operations, the university administration last fall began weighing the pros and cons of continuing to provide food service in-house or switching to a private-sector vendor.

    A campus committee studied proposals from three companies and recommended the university pursue a change, which required approval of the University System of Maryland's (USM) governing board and the Board of Public Works.

    The change means students in UMES' Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management will see up-close how private-sector, for-profit businesses operate.

    The company pledged to provide "access to our network of corporate clients for employment and internship opportunities. We are particularly excited about working with your award-winning Hospitality program," Thompson said.

    UMES employs 80 food service workers, 70 of whom are "contingent" or contractual employees responsible for serving approximately 1,700 students.

    "Our food service workers are among the university's most dedicated and hard-working employees," President Bell said. "We appreciate what they do for our campus community."

    Current workers will have the option of interviewing for positions Thompson needs to fill, and the company will match wages at the time the bid was submitted for those who are hired in a similar position.

    Thompson, which bills itself as the country's "largest minority-owned food service" company, has food service contracts with