Yes, Monique Kuyck certainly finds it regrettable that she has to start yet another tendering procedure, following a search of almost a year after which VITAM finally emerged as the winner, for a caterer in collaboration with the Procurement department so soon. That procedure, incidentally, started this week already.
According to Kuyck, it takes a new caterer about a year to get used to a new organization, as she already told Cursor in April of this year. “That really applies to every caterer, including VITAM,” Kuyck says. That is why TU/e and VITAM constantly discuss the operating costs and, since recently, the continuation of their collaboration. “As far as the issue of adjustments is concerned, everyone will have noticed that VITAM started with a number of new initiatives after the summer holiday, such as the lunch deal for three euro’s in the Auditorium and the addition of pizzas to the menu of Grillz.”
Nevertheless, it has been decided that the contract, which was due to expire in 2023 with an option for another five years, will be terminated as of 6 July 2020. “After intensive consultation between both parties,” Kuyck emphasizes. “Clearly, we chose that date for strategic reasons, because there won’t be any exams as of that day, which means that campus will be much quieter, and that gives the new caterer enough time to get installed.”
Kucyk is not worried about the new tendering procedure. “We can make use of the same documents as in 2018, even though they need to be adjusted in some places, because Traverse, the Laplace building and the Paviljoen don’t need catering any more, for example. The fact that these adjustments also include pricing won’t come as a surprise to anyone.”
She expects that the entire process will take about five to six months and hopes to present a new caterer somewhere in April. “That will the new caterer a few months to make preparations and to start talks with the present personnel.”
Mark Hufken, Operational Manager at VITAM, says he has little to add to Kuyck’s story. “We at VITAM also regret that our collaboration with TU/e will come to a premature end. We will contact the new caterer as soon as the announcement is made and start the talks about the transfer and personnel.”
The catering employees currently under contract at VITAM will not be affected by this decision until 6 July 2020. Kuyck says that it concerns about fifty people with a permanent employment and a number of temporary workers. All of these employees were personally informed by their employer this morning about the forthcoming changes. The agreements about opening hours, the assortment and the pricing will remain in force, as was agreed upon when the contract was signed.
Besides operating the foodcourts, VITAM also arranges banqueting activities at several events. Catering and hospitality service Vermaat operates the University Club in Atlas and the Zwarte Doos at the entrance of the campus site. Hubble in the Luna building is an initiative run by students. On the TU/e terrain, VITAM will continue to provide the catering in Kennispoort, which was taken over by real estate agent Kadans in March 2018.