Aramark, UCF’s dining services provider, and the University of Central Florida have a proposal in place that fully impacts the heart of campus.
KnightNews.com obtained the proposal between UCF and Aramark that uncovers the plans for the possible renovation.
The Student Union would feature new restaurants, such as Pollo Tropical and Café Buestello, according to the proposal.
The proposal also includes, “total capital investment to fund [Aramark’s] transformative dining vision of up to $17,850,000; of which up to $14,350,000 is dedicated to fund the Student Union renovations.”
The projected total return amount to UCF listed in the proposal is more that $82 million.
Aramark’s financial proposal includes these offers in exchange for a ten year extension with the university, a two to three year staggered transition of the Student Union to Aramark, and the option for future Aramark services at the downtown campus.
The proposal also marks that UCF would be among the first to market Beacon Technology with Aramark.
“Beacons can use multiple connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to smartphones or tablets. Beacons can also be used to provide customers with product information, residential events, flash sales or deals, and to speed up the checkout process with a completely contactless payments system,” the proposal states.
Other outcomes in the proposal are $39 million of projected commissions and annual brand refreshment starting in the year 2019.
UCF spokesman Chad Binette explained that restaurants at the union would complete their lease term and that this change would not affect Knights Plaza restaurants.
However, not everyone at the university is thrilled with the possible changes. Current businesses at the Student Union have expressed concern about the effects Aramark taking over will have on them.
The Assistant Manager of Toppers at UCF, Colin Asinari expressed his concern that Toppers would have to close if the contract were to go through.
“That would mean that myself, my manager and a few other employees here would probably have to be let go because there are no other immediate Toppers in this location,” Asinari said.
Asinari said this was not the first time he has dealt with Aramark “coming in and taking a small business out” as it occurred to his girlfriend’s parent’s business in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
“As students, all we can really do is band together and voice our dissatisfaction with the fact that Aramark may not suit all the needs to the student body. With having smaller businesses, having people that are more open to hearing the ideas of the students, it can definitely really affect the relationship, I feel, with UCF and their student body by going ahead and kicking out all these small businesses and bringing in a big corporation that doesn’t care as much,” Asinari explained.
The Toppers at UCF does a lot of fundraising with student organizations. Asinari said that the ice cream shop has basically filled all fundraising dates for this semester.
“If we were to leave, it would probably cause a lot of issues. Like, I don’t think Aramark would be as willing to do fundraising with these clubs and it really helps,” Asinari expressed.
The UCF Board of Trustees will be voting on the proposal on Nov. 19.
Check back for more updates on the Student Union renovation proposal on KnightNews.com