By Keturah Tobias and Nathalie Recinos
Volunteer State Community College’s food service provider, First Choice Foods, announced it will no longer supply Vol State’s cafeteria after the fall 2021 semester. For this reason, Vol State’s cafeteria, also known as “The Grill” will be out of operation until a new food service provider is adopted.
First Choice Foods ran The Grill and vending services on the Gallatin campus. The Grill was a breakfast and lunch service that was open during classes for students and faculty who wanted to grab a quick bite without leaving campus.
“Breakfast items [included] biscuits, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, yogurt, and fruit. Lunch items include a salad bar, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, BBQ, and chicken fingers,” according to the Vol State website.
The vice president of Vol State’s Office of Business and Finance, Beth Carpenter, said First Choice Foods informed Vol State about their intentions to depart during a meeting with the college in November.
“Our provider, First Choice Foods, indicates that the decrease in student use of the venue during the fall semester has made it challenging for them to make financial ends meet. For that reason, they concluded they needed to discontinue their operation,” said Carpenter.
Vol State student, Rachel Bleau, said, “I’m a little disappointed that it is closing, it was affordable food that was easily accessible. I did kind of depend on it because it didn’t require me to go off campus to get food that was something other than a snack.”
Vol State understands that many students depend on campus dining and, because of this, Carpenter said that the college is anxious to find a food service provider to run The Grill next semester.
“We believe it is vital for our students to have a food service vendor on campus,” said Carpenter. “To that end, we are asking our governing board, [Tennessee Board of Regents], to guide us in the options we have to bring a new contractor to campus in a short time period.”