Tim Hortons/Food Services to open in Geology Bldg.
By Colleen MacPherson
The unused buffeteria in Geology will likely be transformed over the summer into what is expected to be a more profitable operation than its previous incarnation, part of a continuing search for “the path to financial viability” for Food Services.
John Olson, Director of Consumer Services, said students and staff can expect to see a “bright, shiny new Tim Hortons” in the space along with a small Food Services outlet offering items like soup, sandwiches and tacos. This dual concept operation is currently in the planning stage, he said. The Tim Hortons franchise was been arranged on behalf of the University by ARAMARK, the firm contracted to supply food services to campus.
The Geology buffeteria along with similar operations in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the Health Sciences Building were closed last fall in an effort to improve the bottom line of the food operation. At the time, Olson said he expected the closures would result in savings of about $30,000 in labour costs and efficiencies and while “we’ve achieved some of that savings”, the results have not been as positive as expected.
Monitoring sales at nearby food outlets in Agriculture, Arts and Marquis Hall showed people were not simply taking their business elsewhere when the Geology location closed. “We didn’t see an uptake in sales” at those outlets, said Olson, “so we knew we were missing some”. The new Tim Hortons/Food Services operation is expected to recover those lost sales.
Olson said the change in Geology is part of an ongoing analysis of food operations, and “at some point in time, we’ll have to make major decisions about Food Services on this campus.” He said one option could be to shut it down completely because “the costs of operating here (on campus) compared to the private sector are unmanageable”.
“We’ll have a plan (for Food Services) come September in conjunction with a number of other things that are in the works, like the residence project.” He said a proposal about the future of the operation will go to the Board of Governors in early fall.