Starting this fall, Golden Bear fans will have a new food provider to satisfy their game-time hunger during at-home sporting events.
Cal Dining — the campus program that feeds the UC Berkeley community and students who live in the campus’s Residential and Student Service Programs — announced May 24 that it will be entering into a 15-year contract beginning July 1 with Cal Athletics to provide all of its concessions for home sporting events.
“Cal Dining brings an excellent reputation for serving quality food and providing a high level customer service,” said Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour in a press release. “We believe they will do an outstanding job of connecting local brands within our athletic facilities and listen to fan feedback to develop first-rate menus.”
Cal Athletics agreed in 2007 to a seven-year concessions agreement with multinational food service company Sodexo Inc., according to Associate Athletic Director of Revenue and Business Strategy Matt Terwilliger.
The motivation for terminating the agreement with Sodexo in order to partner with Cal Dining was due to a combination of the timing of the new upgrade of Memorial Stadium, the quality of service and the local insight of Cal Dining, he said.
“We wanted to raise the game with the new stadium coming on line,” Terwilliger said. “Cal Dining knows the Cal student and Cal fan better than anyone else — the goal is to bring in an enhanced variety of food and experience, as well as a localized branding.”
Terwilliger, who had high praise for Cal Dining Executive Director Shawn LaPean, said working with Cal Dining allows for a lot of “cross-promotion” so that both groups can mutually reinforce each other.
Those who attend sporting events next year can expect to see more diverse options on the menus. An example of a new type of meal which will be offered at football games is the portobello mushroom burger — the only one of its kind available at collegiate sporting events in the nation, according to LaPean.
The first year of this partnership will be a “learning experience,” which will give Cal Dining time to survey and respond to consumer demand at the games, LaPean said.
He also emphasized that Cal Dining will continue its practice of sustainability and drive toward “a zero-waste” policy in its operations at the sporting events. In 2006, Cal Dining was given the nation’s first organic certification on a college campus, according to their website.
Cal Dining, which will consult with other concessions experts around the world in preparation for its service to Cal Athletics, currently serves 29,000 customers daily and executes more than 4.8 million transactions per year, according to the press release.
Terwilliger said he is confident the deal with Cal Dining would help the campus achieve its goals of quality service in providing concessions for the near future and the next 15 years.
“The donors who have been catered to already by Cal Dining have loved the food and the service,” he said. “I expect the students to be really excited.”