MIT Announces New Retail Dining Partnership with Chartwells Dining Services

Residential Life & Dining in MIT’s Division of Student Life announced that Chartwells Dining Services was selected to take over management of five retail dining venues on its Cambridge campus after the current contract expires on June 30, 2013.
“Chartwells’s extensive culinary and nutrition expertise and their efforts to understand the MIT community’s preferences and expectations made a big impression on the selection committee,” said Henry J. Humphreys, Senior Associate Dean for Residential Life & Dining. To elicit MIT community feedback, Chartwells implemented an innovative campus engagement survey, the results of which were reflected in their winning proposal to a committee made up of students, faculty, and staff.
"Being part of the selection process meant that we were able to ask each vendor about their plans and priorities,” said Maryzeh Ghassemi, a graduate student in CSAIL and member the Graduate Student Council. “I was most impressed with Chartwells’s engagement of students in their presentation. They were the only vendor that used student interviews to guide their proposal."
Chartwells’ survey, conducted near the retail dining locations that are part of the contract, uncovered numerous strong preferences among MIT community members. In particular they asked for:

  • Healthier Choices - Chartwells will implement its award-winning “Balanced U” health, wellness, and sustainability platform to guide customers toward healthier options based on their eating preferences, health goals, and dietary constraints. Chartwells will also offer its “Eat, Learn, Live” interactive culinary education program to enhance students’ nutrition and cooking knowledge at MIT and beyond.
  • Innovative Cuisine - Diners will choose from unique concepts including international options such as a sweet and savory crêperie, a creative twist on the traditional salad bar, and “Molecular Mixology,” which promises to deliver specialized libations created using tenets of molecular gastronomy.
  • National Brands - Based on respondents’ desire for name-brand sandwich and coffee options, Chartwells will assess the feasibility of bringing partners such as Starbucks and Argo Tea Café to campus.
  • Food Lab - Using additional community input, Chartwells will transform the Stata Center Food Court to provide innovative, evolving cuisine in a lab-like atmosphere.

Work on updating the dining facilities in Building 7, Building 4, and Stata Center will begin after Chartwells assumes the contract on July 1. Students and faculty can expect to see updated retail offerings this fall.
Chartwells’s President and CEO Steve Sweeney said, “We’re proud to partner with MIT and provide distinctive foodservice management, award-winning programs, and exceptional quality food for each guest dining on campus.”

Filed under: Dining