The new on-campus catering service at Woudestein will be VITAM; already on July 5th it will take over from Albron. What can we expect from VITAM?

Fresh and tasty food and drinks, on various locations of the Erasmus University: in De Etude (H-building), the Company (T-building), the restaurant at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, the coffee corner of the Erasmus University College and those in the V- and C-buildings. Moreover, the caterer will provide coffee and sandwiches for meetings and also beverages and snacks for drinks and ceremonies.

The philosophy of VITAM translates to an extensive salad bar, freshly topped sandwiches (which will not be in a cooler, because that will be to the detriment of the bread) and every day different hot dishes.

Create different salads and sandwiches

In contrast to other catering services, every restaurant or coffee corner will get their own site manager, who can determine the range of products by himself. It could therefore happen that the range in De Etude will vary somewhat compared to that of the Company. In other catering services, the headquarters will decide on the products, with the consequence that soup or sandwiches will be available which find little or no demand.

That’s a shame, and unnecessary, says operational manager Arjan van de Vrande. “With us, based on the demands of the customers, employees can think of salads, sandwiches and hot meals. That’s what someone became a cook for at the end of the day.”

Labor conditions employees will remain the same

VITAM will take on, in contrast to Albron three years ago, all employees, maintaining salary, the number of contractual hours, and all labor conditions. Given the work manner of VITAM the caterer expects initiative and creativity from their employees. “That was a bit of a shock to them at first, but after individual interviews with all employees, everybody became enthusiastic”, says Van de Vrande.

Make grilled vegetables at home

To get a taste of the ‘VITAM-feeling’ everybody was given a crate of vegetables to take home and grill, for example. The employees will, starting July 5th, be educated by current VITAMMERS, and Van de Vrande expects them to get a feel for it after a few months.

Assertive target group on the university

Van de Vrande looks forward to settling on the university, albeit that that is not so simple, because the target group is so diverse. “There are students and employees who rarely go out for food, and those who do so every week. Regardless, you will have to please everybody.” In addition, the manager expects and hopes that this target group is assertive enough to give notice when things are below par. That is at least his experience on the University of Amsterdam, where VITAM previously provided catering services.

We will have to wait for prices

About pricing, Van de Vrande can as of yet say nothing; he is still working on the budget. Despite the fact that VITAM is aiming high in terms of freshness of products, this does not automatically need to lead to higher prices, he thinks. VITAM wants to cut costs by using as few packaging material as possible. That’s why the milk and juices will be in pitchers, cheese and meats will be cut freshly and the sweet bread toppings can be scooped up from old-fashioned preservation jars.

Whoever will make a judgment about higher prices beforehand is recommended by the manager to first come and taste. He laughs saying this, because he knows from experience that people will start thinking differently about it then. LJ