About the Planning Process

The food service planning process is an inclusive, transparent, and coordinated approach to food service planning, placement, and construction on the Ann Arbor campus. At the highest level, it is guided by an overall campus planning philosophy and guiding principles that ensure that, as an institution, food is placed intentionally and strategically, supporting and connecting needs at the individual unit level to the needs of campus “neighborhoods” to the broadest needs of the overall campus community.

The process covers all phases — from the earliest unit proposal phase through design, construction and opening — and clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved.

For detailed information on the food service planning process and guidelines, refer to Food Service Planning Guidelines.


The goals of the food service planning process are to ensure that food service operations are planned and placed based on campus needs, potential market demand, ability to be as financially self-sustaining as possible, and on overall fit with campus master plans. Additional goals of the process are to:

  • Clarify the University's decision-making process for planning and placing food service operations

  • Ensure that a new food service operation aligns with the University’s mission, food service guiding principles, and feasibility criteria

  • Promote productive use of existing facilities

  • Ensure that food service needs are carefully analyzed

  • Clarify the process and requirements for selecting suppliers and contractors

  • Clarify University and supplier responsibilities for building out food service space

  • Document the required approvals and inspections for compliance with building, life safety, and food safety codes


The food service planning process and guidelines apply to General Fund academic and administrative units and units that report to Student Life on the Ann Arbor campus. The process and guidelines do not apply to Athletics, the U-M Health System (i.e., U-M Hospitals, Health Centers), or the Dearborn and Flint campuses.