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Release: Dec. 6, 1999

Private vendor to service non-soft-drink vending machines

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Aramark Vending Service of Cedar Rapids has been selected to service non-soft-drink vending machines in University of Iowa residence halls and academic building, a UI official announced today. The proposed agreement is for three years and will take effect some time over the upcoming winter break. The Cedar Rapids firm was selected through a competitive bidding process.

Aramark will service about 150 vending machines that offer products such as candy bars, cookies, chips, coffee, milk, yogurt, fruit, sandwiches and laundry detergent. The private company will also operate and maintain dollar bill changers in vending areas.

Outsourcing the vending service has two main purposes, said Phillip E. Jones, UI vice president for student services. The proposal offers some new services to faculty, staff and students who use the vending machines. It will also eliminate the operating losses incurred by the UI since the 1997-98 fiscal year and eliminate the need for the UI to invest in new equipment and vehicles.

Aramark proposes to pay the university $100,000 to purchase existing vending equipment and to purchase the product inventory at book value. The new vendor also proposes to pay the university $20,000 a year, and will invest $100,000 in new campus vending equipment over the three years of the proposed agreement.

In addition, Aramark proposes some new customer services, including:
• A major vending promotion each year, using merchandise purchased from the Iowa Memorial Union Bookstore. The value of the promotion will be at least $5,000.
• Quarterly meetings with a UI representative to discuss customer suggestions and feedback, new product selections, and promotional ideas and schedules.
• Implementation of the latest technology in refunding systems.

The vending service is currently operated through UI Residences Services. No UI employees will be laid off, but all employees who have worked in vending services will likely be reassigned. In addition, Aramark will invite the vending service employees to apply for job openings within that company. All UI candidates who apply for positions with Aramark will be guaranteed a job interview.

The proposed agreement between the UI and Aramark does not affect non-soft-drink vending machines in University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics or those operated by UI Recreational Services. Likewise, the proposal does not affect soft drink vending machines.