Family-owned and operated AVI Foodsystems has been announced as Washington College’s new culinary and hospitality partner, taking over management of all food services on campus beginning July 1. This includes full management of all dining options on campus, plus the catering division for special events.
Their vision for a revamped Hodson Culinary Center includes a large variety of venues ranging from traditional meat and veggie options to plant-based and clean foods. Specialty concepts include Trattoria (pizzas made daily from scratch), Homestyles (comfort foods), The Carvery (wraps and sandwiches), Nutribar (fresh salad ingredients), Roots (plant-based), Clarity (clean, allergy-free foods), and the Bake Shoppe for homemade desserts. They also envision an Exhibition Kitchen that would feature guest chefs, dietitians, and others and showcase campus, cultural and holiday events and well as menu innovations.
AVI has a from-scratch culinary philosophy, preparing foods from scratch and sourcing fresh ingredients locally in order to create authentic flavor profiles. They tailor menu plans to the audience as well, factoring in dietary requirements and other preferences.
“We fully understand the critical and integral role a great campus dining program plays in building and nurturing student relationships, friendships and exposure to new cultures and cuisines,” said Vince Lombardi, Executive Vice President for AVI’s Education Division. “We will work diligently to honor your history and traditions, adopt current team members as new members of the AVI family and provide a fresh, from-scratch culinary program that delights students, faculty and staff.”
While specific hours of service are still under review, AVI is prepared to offer serving hours that reflect class times, lifestyles, and events on campus. The company has initially proposed extending hours to 8 PM each weekday and to 7 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as a monthly “First Friday” event with a late-night dining experience that runs through midnight.
AVI is further committed to involving students in real-time feedback and opportunities to participate in menu development, citing a willingness to continuously adapt menus to better meet the needs of the campus. The company is also committed to sustainable food and environmental practices and intends to be an active, engaged member of the Washington College community in driving sustainable actions and practices.
All current Dining Services staff will be offered the opportunity to transition onto the AVI team, in positions that maintain or improve their current wages and honor their years of service. They will be joined by additional candidates to form an expanded management team under AVI leadership. AVI will also offer a student employment program that offers above-average wages for students.
AVI is the largest family-owned foodservice company, and the 8th largest overall, in the United States. Currently they partner with more than 50 colleges and universities under their education division.