National Zoo Upgrading Concession Stands

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credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The National Zoo has awarded a 10-year contract to Sodexo Inc. to upgrade concession stands into a food court and restaurant space and serve food in more locations.

Under the contract announced Thursday, officials say Gaithersburg, Md.-based Sodexo will invest several million dollars to upgrade the dining facilities. Plans call for an upscale food court and new outdoor café.

Changes will be made over two years beginning in April. Sodexo plans to serve food at 22 locations, focusing on healthy, sustainable options.

Zoo Director Dennis Kelly says upgrades will generate increased revenue to support the zoo. The nonprofit Friends of the National Zoo operates the existing concession stands. Current employees can apply for jobs with Sodexo.

Sodexo runs food businesses for zoos and aquariums in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and elsewhere. They also provide food for a number of school systems around the country.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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