U-High Midway

Lab’s new food-service provider is here for a year

Jacob Posner, Editor-in-Chief

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A farmstand with infused waters, apples and bananas has replaced the baskets of gushers

While Quest Food Management Services provides cafeteria services at Lab this year, the whole community will be involved in choosing a permanent vendor, according to Colleen Coyle, director of family life programs, who oversees campus dining options.

The selection of a new provider had been in progress for months before Café Lab failed a food inspection in May. The timing was coincidental, according to Ms. Coyle.

Lab students, faculty and administrators will have the opportunity to decide on the permanent vendor through a request for proposal process, which will include food samples, “food committees, focus groups, surveys, and lots of conversation,” Ms. Coyle said.

Ms. Coyle explained that Lab chose a new food service provider because the administration was not serving the student body well with Aramark, a food service provider with services not designed to work in a school environment.

Lab chose Quest Food Management because Quest “knows the K-12 education space. They know how to work in and with schools. That’s a bit of shift from where we were with our prior vendor.”

Additionally, Rachel Brown, a food service director who worked with Lab through Aramark a couple of years ago, knows the Lab community and will now work with it through Quest.

Quest makes all meals from scratch, uses local food sources and cooks “authentic international meals,” according to its website. Ms. Coyle said faculty can also work with Quest staff.

Aramark employees who worked at Lab were given the opportunity to stay at Lab, but just two remained.

“Quest had an open meeting with all of the employees and invited them to apply and retain employment with Quest if they were interested,” Ms. Coyle said. “Aramark also guaranteed all of those employees employment at another location.”

Quest employees will fill any former Aramark positions, including at the Judd Hall coffee shop, which will now offer more snacks as well as U-High spirit gear with coffee sourced by Intelligentsia, according to Ms. Coyle.

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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School
Lab’s new food-service provider is here for a year