A’viands says ‘employees will be in good hands’

With Sodexo changing to a new food services provider in July, A’viands promises to make the transition as smooth as possible for the 84 employees affected.


Courtesy of Missouri University

Above is Missouri University’s Einstein Bros. Bagels. This is what the UWO Sage Cafe could look like when the transition to Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee occurs over the 2019 summer break.

Beginning July 11, 2019, UW Oshkosh campuses will welcome a new dining services provider, A’viands, and say goodbye to Sodexo.

Sodexo has been UWO’s dining services provider since 2001.

A’viands corporate communications director Debbie Albert said students can expect their voices to be heard and their needs to be met.

“Whenever we start with a new account, we listen to what the community wants and do our best to exceed expectations,” Albert said. “We make every effort to be responsive and to provide a tailored solution for each campus we serve.”

With the new transition, approximately 84 UWO workers employed through Sodexo will be affected.

Sodexo general service employee Tina Furmam said she has been with Sodexo since they first came to UWO and has been here for four food service provider transitions.

“The transition is typically smooth; we’re really not affected too much,” Furmam said. “I’m actually excited for the change because Sodexo has been here for so long. I’ve been researching the company a little bit, and it seems like they have really good different food options and ideas. They are going to change Sage back to an Einsteins Bros. Bagels which, when I first came here, this was an Einsteins. I’m excited. It’s a good change.”

Albert also said that A’viands will work to ensure that the transition process for employees is as easy as they can make it.

“We look forward to retaining those who want to join our amazing company, and we’ll do our best to ensure a seamless transition for them,” Albert said. “As an employee-focused company, we know there’s no greater asset than great employees.”

Furmam also serves as a satellite steward for Local Union 414. Furmam said the Union will meet with A’viands for the first time on June 18 and 19 to discuss the terms of their contract.

“They will sit down and look at our contract and go over things that we expect them to honor, and they might come back with things that they want to change,” Furmam said. “They may change health insurance companies, sick leave, vacation, stuff like that. I’m not really concerned about anything, I just can’t wait to sit down with them and get everything figured out.”

Furmam said the reason why she is not concerned about the transition is because she has talked with someone who currently works at A’viands to hear about their experiences.

“We [the union] talked to somebody who moved from here to there, and she said that A’viands is a great company,” Furmam said. “They honor their unions no problem, and everything was a smooth transition.”

Furmam said she has enjoyed her time working for Sodexo, despite the rocky start.

“When Sodexo came in, they let go several of our union employees, some of them who had been here for 20-plus years or more, really kind of for no reason,” Furmam said. “But the union stood together even though we almost went on strike, we had signs made and everything, but at the very last minute they decided that they were going to rehire everyone back. After that it was smooth sailing. I’ve enjoyed the company; I’ve enjoyed the management. I think they have good food options, but I’m ready for a change.”

Furmam said she hopes to keep the same contract they already have.

“We’ve been trying to get [the food service providers] to pay for our parking for years and years, but that never happens,” Furmam said. “We’re not asking for much, just to honor what we already have.”

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater switched from Chartwells to A’viands on June 1 2017. UW-W Junior Amanda Perez said she is not impressed with A’viands.

“Personally, I don’t think they are that great,” Perez said. “My friends don’t think A’viands is good either, we only eat on campus when we have no other options really. Some of the food was just unappetizing, and usually unflavored.”

Albert said A’viands’ passion is to serve great food by great people.

“Look for new menu items, additional points of service and a proactive approach to responding to student requests related to dietary restrictions and to adding variety in menu options,” Albert said. “We’ll work with the university on a number of options with different franchises, our own A’viands internal concepts, and then consider additional improvements to the current service. We are excited to bring our culinary-driven, customer service-focused programs to everyone at the University.”