Indiana University Residential Programs and Services Dining and culinary experts at the Indiana Memorial Union have joined forces to create IU Dining, which now oversees operation of all eateries and catering at the Bloomington campus, with the exception of IU Athletics' Championship Catering.
The contract between the IMU and Sodexo, the contractor operating restaurants in the building, expired in early May, presenting university leadership with an opportunity to streamline management of dining facilities at Indiana University and improve experiences for students, employees and visitors.
Visitors to the IMU may already notice some changes thanks to this reorganization. Baja Fresh has become the Crimson Grill, which serves burgers, sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches. Charleston Market is now Hoosier Homestyle, with a similar menu of rotating healthy and vegetarian options. B-town Pasta & Pizza has replaced Pizza Hut, and Cyclone Salads has become Green Leaf.
These changes will only exist in the interim, according to Rahul Shrivastav, executive director of IU Dining. Eventually, these restaurants will be renovated and replaced with a combination of high-quality IU eateries, like those found at the Bookmark[et] Eatery in the Wells Library or the Goodbody Eatery at Wells Quad, and offerings from local restaurants.
Changes will be coming to catering and the Tudor Room, too, as David Tallent takes the reins as executive chef for IU Dining at the IMU. He, along with retail director Rachael Splain and catering director Barry Kuhlman, will lead dining at the IMU into this new era.
Shrivastav said the changes will help IU Dining provide food sourced from local, fresh ingredients, give diners nutrition information via the Nutrition Information task in One.IU and create more sustainable operating procedures. He said the goal is to have campus dining options that are on par with or superior to offerings in downtown Bloomington.
"The Union is the heart of the university," he said. "It's the living room of our campus, and we have to have great food, great service and great friends in that living room."
The Union is the living room of our campus, and we have to have great food, great service and great friends in that living room.Rahul Shrivastav, executive director of IU Dining
Executive director of the IMU Hank Walter said the changes will help the IMU better serve IU students, faculty, staff and visitors.
"We are excited about the new dining options at the IMU in the short term, as well as the long-term dining plans we will provide for the IU community," Walter said.
Beyond providing better dining options, the changes will be fiscally beneficial for the university, according to executive director of RPS Pat Connor. IU Dining will be able to adapt to trends and respond to visitors' needs more efficiently, since it will no longer be bound by a vendor contract. Connor also said that IU Dining will give students a seat at the table through a Union Board task force that will be involved in selecting the dining options that will open when renovations are completed.
"At the end of the day, contractors' loyalties lie with their investors and stakeholders," Connor said. "With IU Dining in charge, our primary mission will be to serve the IU community to the best of our abilities in the heart of campus."
Visitors to the IMU will continue to notice changes throughout the 2018-19 school year, the first of which will be the opening of an IU Dining-run gift shop and convenience store on the main level of the building.