University to switch from Sodexo to Compass Group for dining services

After 29 years, Pitt Dining is going to be provided by a new company. The University has selected Compass Group to replace Sodexo as its single-source provider of food services.

The transition will happen over the next few months and be completed by the time Sodexo’s contract expires on June 30.  All current Sodexo employees will have the opportunity to remain in their current roles, with compensation that is equal or better to what they receive now, according to the University.

The British-based company’s North American headquarters are in Charlotte, N.C. It employs more than 280,000 people in North America and had $20.1 billion in revenues in 2019. Compass provides dining services at 300 colleges and universities in the United States, including Louisiana State University, Northwestern and Texas A&M University.

The contract with Sodexo has consistently been Pitt’s largest annual payment to an independent contractor. In fiscal year 2017-18, the University paid Sodexo just over $39 million, according to Pitt’s IRS 990 form.

There’s no word yet on how much Compass will get paid by Pitt. University officials say the contract details are still being worked out. Compass was selected after a nearly yearlong process that included input from students and other University representatives.

Compass will provide dining services at all the locations currently managed by Sodexo, except the cafes in the Cathedral of Learning and Hillman Library, which will be under a recently announced agreement with Saxbys. The locations that Compass will manage include the two main student dining halls — Market Central at Litchfield Towers and The Perch at Sutherland Hall — Forbes Street Market, and other smaller cafes and coffee stands in Pitt buildings.

The University also intends to partner with a hotel developer to manage the University Club. 

“Given Compass Groups’ extensive experience across food service sectors beyond campus dining including events and catering, Pitt also plans to explore new innovation and growth opportunities through this intended partnership,” the University said in a statement.

— Susan Jones


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