Students are shown in the dining center at the Memorial Union building in this 2017 file photo. The University of Maine's Orono campus is outsourcing its food services positions to a French company, starting next year. Credit: Micky Bedell / BDN

The University of Maine will outsource its campus dining services to a private company starting next summer, and more than 100 food service workers will no longer be university employees.

The French company Sodexo, which is the dining contractor at Maine’s six other public universities and college campuses across the country, will start running dining services at the Orono flagship campus on July 1, 2023, UMaine said Wednesday.

As part of the new, eight-year contract, Sodexo will pay UMaine a $3 million signing bonus and invest $7 million in facility improvements, according to UMaine spokesperson Margaret Nagle.

UMaine employs more than 100 people in its dining services, and all of them will be offered commensurate positions with Sodexo, the university said. The dining services staff includes 21 management and supervisory staff who are not represented by a union. The 91 employees represented by a union will be represented by Service and Maintenance Teamsters Union Local 340, which is negotiating a new contract with Sodexo.

Student employees who work in dining services will be Sodexo employees after July 1, 2023.

UMaine is contracting out dining services after a review by an outside consulting firm tasked with identifying opportunities to “optimize value and expand food service,” the university said.

As part of the new partnership, Sodexo and UMaine will work together to evaluate all of the campus’ dining options and facilities to determine where investments should be made, Nagle said.

In September, the university closed the Wells dining hall and a residence hall due to lower-than-expected enrollment.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...