The catering on the Wageningen campus is among the best in Dutch universities, according to the latest National Student Survey. But Cormet is lagging behind, shows an investigation by Resource. The editors sent a tasting panel off to evaluate the four caterers in the Forum, Orion, the Leeuwenborch and the Restaurant of the Future.
Photo: Sven Menschel. The Cormet canteen in the Forum.
It is clear that Cormet is the weakest link. The caterer, which runs the kiosks in Atlas and Lumen and Wageningen UR canteens outside Wageningen as well as the canteen in the Forum, scored a mere 6.3. Just scraping a pass. The organization’s minimal requirement is a 6.1, says contract manager Lisette Schoonman of Facilities and Services. The grade from the Resource test matches results from a previous study by Facilities and Services on satisfaction with the catering. In that 2014 study Cormet got a middling score for all its locations: more than one point lower than other caterers, at 6.3.
Business manager Ron Nagtegaal at Cormet’s Forum canteen is not happy with the score. ‘We will certainly be addressing a number of points for attention,’ he promises. One of these is the use of plastic cutlery. It is in the terms of their contract that the caterers should use stainless steel cutlery. The problem in the Forum is that the cutlery gets stolen on a large scale. ‘We are talking about 700 sets of cutlery per year,’ explains Nagtegaal. ‘We can replace them but they disappear again as soon as the next academic year starts.’ Cormet is having discussions with Facilities and Services about how to solve this problem. Schoonman agrees that theft is a joint problem. ‘The caterers may be responsible for the tableware and for purchasing it, but it is our students who pinch that cutlery.’
Overall, the catering in Wageningen scores 3.9 on a scale of 5 in the latest National Student Survey. Only the canteens in Tilburg (4.2) and Rotterdam (4.1) got higher scores. Four years ago Wageningen was bringing up the rear with a score of 3.3. Things began to improve when the new caterers came in four years ago. The four-year contract with all the caterers runs out this year. Audits are ongoing for possible extensions. At the moment, Schoonman sees no reason not to extend the contracts.