Mouse-free and profits few, Aramark bolts Capitol

One year after "Mousegate" left an icky taste in diners' mouths, food service giant Aramark Inc.  announced it is pulling out of the state Capitol.

Philadelphia-based Aramark told the Department of General Services on Christmas Eve it was opting out of its three-year contract  to run the Capitol Cafeteria citing lack of profits.  

The contract was not set to expire until June 2012, but a clause allowed the company to break the contract for financial reasons, said department spokesman Troy Thompson. The state has extended the lease 90 days to allow time to find a new operator.

Aramark has been the eatery’s operator since July 2004, winning kudos for bringing Starbucks coffee to the Capitol for the first time. 

The company ended up in hot water in Dec. 2009 when the Health Department briefly shut down the cafeteria after inspectors found rodent infestation and a slew of health violations. 

The company conducted top-to-underground cleaning, including digging up trees harboring mice nests, and the cafeteria has passed inspections since, Thompson said. Despite the clean inspections and dining area redesign, sales continued to lag, he said.

The new vendor will be under orders to try to seek out Pennsylvania food stuffs.

The vendors are being asked to:

Use 100-percent PA-sourced fresh, unprocessed foods such as: potatoes, apples and mushrooms;

Use 100-percent PA-sourced fresh proteins and further processed proteins: beef, veal, pork, poultry, trout and hybrid striped bass, processed meats;

Use seasonal PA-sourced fruits, vegetables, etc.; and

Use 100-percent PA-sourced processed foods including: bread, dairy products, snack foods/baked goods, beverages, candy, ready-made sandwiches/subs and other ready-to-eat foods

Proposals are due by Feb. 24.

For more information on the Solicitation For Proposal, view the Capitol Cafeteria SFP directly or log onto to, click on “solicitations” and in the “Solicitation #” field enter “94409.”


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