PMU Dining Services prepares meals for Greek house
Raudel Magallanes, a chef at Purdue Memorial Union’s Dining Services, prepares rotisserie chicken for the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house. The meal was part of a new step for Dining Services, preparing most meals of the week for a Greek house. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
Purdue Memorial Union operates 18 restaurants across campus. Now, Dining Services has expanded into the Greek sector.
Though most Greek houses turn to cooks or caterers or do the cooking themselves, Gary Goldberg, the Union's director of dining services, suggested Alpha Epsilon Pi organize a program with the Union.
This is the first year Alpha Epsilon Pi, Purdue's Jewish fraternity, has occupied a house on campus. One of the brothers had previously worked with Dining Services on his industrial engineering senior design project and discussions on how the house served its food began.
Alpha Epsilon Pi accepted the business offer, and the result has proven to be a healthy partnership.
"The process is fairly simple," says Zach Bright, member and lieutenant master of AEP. "They make all of the food at the Union and deliver it to us twice a day. We get a hot lunch, along with box lunches upon request, and a hot dinner. They bring the breakfast at dinnertime and leave it in our kitchenette."
The collaboration is beneficial to both parties, Goldberg says. Dining Services receives a business partner, and the fraternity receives a convenient and reliable source of food.
"To me it was a smart business decision," Goldberg says. "It is incremental revenue for us. We gave them a very fair arrangement, and we're very flexible. They probably wouldn't get another caterer to be as flexible as us. The security with us is we're on campus. We're a logical extension."
Food is based on a rotational menu, but special requests can be made with 24 hours' notice. Dining Services even features and serves dishes from one of its Union restaurants, such as Lemongrass or Pappy's, twice a week.
"It's not really adding any labor, simply because we are mirroring items that we are already producing for some of the other outlets," executive chef Bruce Haumesser says. "So that's really made it smart for us and really cost-effective for them."
And being a Jewish fraternity, some brothers have kosher-style diets based on their religion.
"They have a few vegetarians, so in addition to the cycle menu we also send over about five offerings of vegetarian dishes every day," Haumesser says.
Dining Services prepares three meals per day, Monday through Friday for Alpha Epsilon Pi. Meals are prepared based on the academic calendar, and Goldberg says he hopes to expand the project to more Greek organizations next fall.
"We're appreciative of the opportunity, and I hope others inquire of us," Goldberg says. "I think it's good for everybody."