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Proposed changes to FoodOnCampus outlets

12 Jul 2019

A message from Diana Hampson, Director of Estates and Facilities

University of Manchester

The University is proposing some changes to our FoodOnCampus sites. 

We have recently concluded a review of the FoodOnCampus offer. As you will know, recent years have seen the opening of many new cafés, restaurants and supermarkets on or around our campus. Alongside changing tastes and patterns of demand, this has impacted on the financial sustainability of our FoodOnCampus offer and some facilities are no longer getting the levels of demand to sustain their operation; and are running at a loss.

In June 2019, Finance Sub-Committee and the Planning and Resources Committee endorsed a case for a proposed restructure, which will help FoodOnCampus be financially sustainable and also invest significant amounts into improvements to the remaining cafés and restaurants.

We want to provide the optimum location and variety of viable food and catering outlets, in the places which are convenient for the users of these services.

From the start of the next academic year, we propose to close a number of our 26 FoodOnCampus outlets, subject to consultation with staff directly affected in the outlets. We are advising you that we are consulting with UNISON on the potential closures. We are also holding discussions with customers in the University about the provision of food outlets.

If the proposals are implemented, we will need fewer staff in FoodOnCampus outlets. There are around 40 affected staff and a voluntary severance (VS) scheme for this group will open week commencing 15 July.   If we are unable to meet changes through VS or redeployment, we will move to compulsory redundancy, although we would seek to avoid this if at all possible.

We know that cafés and restaurants are an important part of creating communal spaces and meeting opportunities on campus, so our proposals, if implemented, take care to ensure that there remains a good spread of accessible facilities and a wide choice of catering and retail options. We are also committed to having social spaces wherever we have removed a FoodOnCampus outlet.

We are speaking to colleagues and to our Students’ Union, among other groups, to make sure we can address any concerns they want to raise about the proposals.

We believe that the proposed changes will result in a better experience for staff and students with increased investment in facilities and customer service. There will also be better use of space and reduced environmental impact due transportation costs – many of our smaller cafés have no storage space and food is transported from a depot in Fallowfield. Limiting this will have benefits for reducing emissions, energy use and food waste.

We will publish updated information about which outlets will close and which will remain open, following the consultation period with staff and the discussions with service users.

Diana Hampson

Director of Estates and Facilities