Photo by Leif Norman
In 2009, the University of Winnipeg tasked the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) and Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Winnipeg (SEED) to create a new business concept for campus dining that provides students with local, organic and healthy eating options. In early July 2009, an award-winning duo was hired: Kirsten Godbout, former general manager of the café Bread & Circuses, and Ben Kramer, formerly of Dandelion Eatery. Together they created a business plan for what became Diversity Food Services, based on the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental, Economic, Social and Cultural.
In July and August 2009, 21 people from ethnically diverse origins including Burma, Canada, Cuba, Ethiopia, First Nations, Moldavia, Nigeria, Philippines and Sudan began an intensive, four-week training program. Funded by Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Employment Manitoba and The United Way, the course covered areas such as customer service, time management skills, equipment usage, safe food handling, and cashier/cook duties. With the help of start-up loans from Assiniboine Credit Union backed by the Jubilee Fund, Diversity opened its doors to University of Winnipeg students and staff in September, 2009.
Since its inception the company has steadily expanded, opening Elements: the Restaurant in October, 2012. In November 2014 Diversity took over operation of food services at FortWhyte Alive, running the day to day restaurant service and catering for weddings and events. Executive Chef Kelly Andreas joined Diversity in October 2016, and began implementing systems that would facilitate continued expansion while promoting service excellence. Diversity began operations at Eagle’s Roost Café and Grill at the Players Golf Course in April 2017, and opened Tony’s cafeteria in the University of Winnipeg Collegiate in September 2017.
We are always changing and growing to better serve they Winnipeg communities- keep an eye out for new ventures to come! As of January, 2019, Diversity operates 9 locations as well as a busy city-wide catering service and expanding grocery line. Our current executive Management team consists of Ian Vickers (Chief of Operations), Kirsten Godbout (Executive Manager) and Kelly Andreas (Executive Chef).