Goodbye, Steak ‘n Shake. Hello Breakfast and Co.

Aramark-to-Chartwells transition develops with more concrete details revealed


Samuel Damon

Mabee Dining Hall’s familiar Steak n’ Shake will be replaced this coming fall.

Steak ‘n Shake is slated to be replaced by Breakfast and Co., with dining services changing to Chartwells in the 2023-2024 school year. This decision demonstrates the commitment of the Student Dining Advisory Committee (SDAC) to take student voices into account. The change was a result of student voting for late-night dining options on campus, and it is only one of many recent developments that will continue to occur with the transition from Aramark in the coming months.

SDAC released a survey in March to collect student opinions on dining. With hundreds of student responses, a clear majority favored Breakfast and Co. As SDAC approached analyzing the survey results, individuals such as Michelle Bartonico, senior strategist and project manager, aided in reviewing the results and comments received from the survey.

“Within the open questions and comments, there was feedback from students about ‘Hey, we love the core of Breakfast and Co, but are there opportunities for us to maybe add a burger or something else? Something to split the difference between Steak ‘n Shake and those kinds of things,’” Bartonico said.

From these results, SDAC informed Chartwells of the perspectives of the students. In response, the future dining provider presented a modified menu with items including but not limited to: omelets, pancakes, hot honey fried chicken sandwiches, breakfast burgers, overnight oats, French toast and loaded brisket fries. With this selection, Chartwells hopes to combine the breakfast offerings with heartier options that students requested.
As the front-facing student voice, SDAC has further communicated how students want other aspects of the transition to be carried out.

Local sourcing of food will be incorporated in future Trinity dining, as Chartwells plans for 20% of the food on campus to be locally sourced. This percentage would be maintained at various locations as well, such as a roastery using local coffee beans. Plans for this roastery would be at the current coffee stand in Mabee Dining Hall after renovations occur. Other spaces on campus, such as Dick and Peggy Prassel Hall and the Center for the Sciences and Innovation, are also planned to provide food sources through updates.

A dietician will also work on campus starting next year, providing students with a more personalized dining resource. Unlike the current dietician that serves a more regional role at various colleges, Chartwells will institute a dietician who will be available to help students with dietary needs or who are interested in optimizing their nutrition.

For Ashleigh Reese, first-year intended biology and anthropology double-major, improving health and wellness for those around her has always been one of her goals. As someone with their own dining accommodations, becoming involved in SDAC was the perfect opportunity to advocate for themselves and others. With the current developments, Reese looks forward to having a dietician on campus.

“I’m really excited for having a registered dietitian on campus as a physical member of campus and on staff and the team that we’re going to have here,” Reese said. “Chartwells has already chosen someone, and they’re going to be coming here over the summer for training, and we’re hoping to get them as a familiar face on campus.”

Having a sense of familiarity along with providing options is another key part of what Chartwells is planning for at Trinity according to Bartonico. At Mabee, the head chefs for next year are committed to being outside of the kitchen during peak dining hours, interacting with students and being visible. Behind the scenes, scratch cooking will be utilized as much as possible to improve the overall food quality. Finally, Mabee is set to have more options in the future, such as a new station called “Delicious Without,” which will specialize in allergy-friendly and plant-based selections.

With all of these changes, some students remain uncertain about how the execution will be carried out. John Hawes, junior engineering major, has interacted with Aramark for the past three years, shaping how he views this transition.

“I’m kinda waiting to see what happens,” Hawes said. “Right now, it looks like I’m going to live away from campus, so if I don’t like Chartwells, I can always go to a grocery store and cook for myself.”

Others, such as Reese, remain firm that this transition is for the best.

“Even if you have doubts going into the transition, keep an open mind,” Reese said. “This is a positive change that we are trying to make happen on campus and will make happen on campus.”

Future dining updates will be made public on