Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is my unit required to follow the process and guidelines?
  2. Why do we have to follow this process?
  3. Who do I contact to begin the process or if I have questions?
  4. What approvals are needed to open a food service?
  5. Will the Food Service Review Committee select the food service operator/supplier and menu items?
  6. How do I accurately assess my unit‘s needs when proposing a food service operation?
  7. How do I begin the proposal process?
  8. My unit has the financial capacity to cover the entire cost of the build-out for the proposed food service. May I just contact Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) to expedite the process?
  9. What criteria are used by the Food Service Review Committee when reviewing proposed projects?
  10. Where can I find more information about food safety requirements?
  11. What happens when a proposal is not approved by the Food Service Review Committee and my Executive Officer?

1. Is my unit required to follow the process and guidelines?

The food service planning process and guidelines apply to Ann Arbor campus General Fund academic and administrative units and units that report through the Office of Student Life. They do not apply to University of Michigan Health System, Athletics, or the Dearborn and Flint campuses.

2. Why do we have to follow this process?

There are many University units and offices who are involved in the many phases of planning, constructing and operating food service on campus. Providing a safe environment for the campus community is critical driver in this process, and all parties involved must ensure proposed locations meet strict building, food, and fire regulations.

Additionally, the process, guidelines, and assessment tools help units, the Food Service Review Committee, Executive Officers, and other offices understand each other‘s roles and responsibilities, and ensures that food service operations meet the needs of the University community, are financially viable, and are strategically planned and placed in locations that correspond to overall campus master plans.

3. Who do I contact to begin the process or if I have questions?

Contact the Interim Food Service Review Committee Chair. The Interim Chair is Susan Pile, Senior Director University Unions & Auxiliary Services. You may contact her via email at foodplanning@umich.edu or by phone at 734.936.0869

4. What approvals are needed to open a food service?

A food service location is not only a place where all members of the campus community interact, but also a place where the responsibilities of several campus offices and units intersect, including offices in Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Business and Finance.

Within the outlined phases of the process, several offices and individuals must initiate review to ensure safety and other food-related standards are met, market demand exists, contracts and agreements are appropriate relative to campus and industry standards, financial plans are viable, institutional missions are being met, and so on... These responsibilities rest with Executive Officers; Deans and Directors; the U-M fire marshal; the Food Service Review Committee; Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC); Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH); Procurement, and others.

For an outline of the required approvals, review “Required Review & Approvals” in the Food Service Planning Guidelines.

5. Will the Food Service Review Committee select the food service operator/supplier and menu items?

No. The Food Service Review Committee is only involved in the early phase of proposing and locating food service to ensure campus guiding principles and other campus needs are met. The unit and Procurement select the supplier(s). Once selected, the unit works closely with the supplier(s) to develop an overall concept and menu. The appropriate executive officer or designee is responsible for reviewing contract terms prior to authorizing implementation. The unit is accountable for ongoing operations, standards, financial performance, and adherence to the original proposal.

For additional information on supplier selection, refer to “Process Overview” in the Food Service Planning Guidelines.

6. How do I accurately assess my unit‘s needs when proposing a food service operation?

The guiding principles, feasibility considerations, proposal forms and financial proforma are designed to assist in determining the viability of a food service operation. By carefully reviewing all of these documents, a unit will better understand and determine its needs and the viability of the proposed food service operation.

To review the Food Service Planning Guidelines, which includes the guiding principles and feasibility considerations, and the accompanying proposal materials, refer to the Food Service Planning Guidelines.

Units may also initiate discussions with Food Service Review Committee Chair at any time for additional assistance.

7. How do I begin the proposal process?

Units wishing to propose food service should submit Food Service Proposal to the Food Service Review Committee at anytime during the year to begin the process. The Committee review process can generally be completed within two months of receipt, depending on time of year. This form is available in the Food Service Planning Guidelines section of this site.

 

8. My unit has the financial capacity to cover the entire cost of the build-out for the proposed food service. May I just contact Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) directly to expedite the process?

While having a sound financial plan is an important component of preparing a successful proposal, there are a number of other factors that must be considered when approving and constructing food service on campus, particularly around placement, market demand, and food and fire safety. The Food Service Review Committee, Occupation Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH), AEC, and the unit's Executive Officer must take into account these and a number of other considerations when determining if a project would be a viable fit for campus.

Please also note that general fund academic and administrative units are not permitted to provide operational subsidies to food service operators or to contribute to construction or other build-out expenses for food service space. Operators are expected to cover all costs associated with the construction of the space ands with the purchase, installation, and maintenance of equipment, fixtures, and appliances. Food service operators are also expected to cover the Univesity space costs of the space they occupy.

9. What criteria are used by the Food Service Review Committee when reviewing food service proposals?

The Food Service Review Committee takes a number of issues into consideration when determining the viability of food service proposals, such as food service guiding principles, campus plans, the highest and best use of campus physical space, financial viability, impact on other existing operations, purposeful provision of social gathering space, and evidence of need.

Refer to the section “Campus Planning Philosophies and Strategies” of the Food Service Planning Guidelines for a complete overview.

10. Where can I find more information about food safety requirements?

U-M Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) is the department responsible for ensuring campus buildings and operations meet relevant codes and regulations.

After the Food Service Proposal Form is reviewed and approved by the Food Service Review Committee and the unit's Executive Officer, OSEH will inspect the proposed site and determine if the space meets food safety codes and regulations. Once a project is approved and is in the design and construction phases, OSEH will also be involved to ensure compliance. More information can be found at OSEH‘s website: www.oseh.umich.edu.

11. What happens when a proposal is not approved by the Food Service Review Committee and my Executive Officer?

A proposal may not be approved for various reasons: for example, the location may not be deemed conducive to food service, there may not appear to be a strong enough market to sustain the operation, or the proposed project may seem inconsistent with overall University master plans. The Food Service Review Committee and/or the unit's Executive Officer will provide specific rationale for a decision, and proposal resubmission is possible at a later time, if a new proposal addresses the reasoning provided.