Dining Services’ openness to student input is commendable

In the pages of Student Life and elsewhere, the University’s dining services have been criticized for a seemingly sub-par performance to start the 2009-2010 school year. At the new South 40 dining facilities, service has been lacking, and several favorite items have been cut, leading students to register complaints about the menu and design.

But despite these initial shortfalls, we commend Bon Appétit for responding to the complaints of students and striving to improve the quality of their food and service. With the arrival of new deli items at Bear’s Grill came a sign acknowledging customer complaints and promising improvements throughout the year. While actions speak louder than words, the fact that Bon Appétit is recognizing the concerns voiced by students is commendable, and given Bon Appétit’s monopoly on food options on the South 40, it is refreshing to see that it is earnestly looking toward improving the quality of service and food for students.

After student complaints, Bon Appétit reinstalled the pasta station that was popular at Bear’s Den. Bon Appétit has also advertised that it will shift to a deli-counter service system in which each arriving student takes a number in an effort to reduce the long lines. Plans are also in the works for a carvery station. Staff morale and productivity have improved as well.

While these changes have been the work of many students, we would specifically like to commend Nadeem Siddiqui for acknowledging and responding to student complaints. Given the difficulties of operating an unfinished facility while waiting for the move to a permanent location, Siddiqui deserves merit for responding to customer concerns while simultaneously operating a business that is currently in a precarious situation.

While Bon Appétit has done an admirable job in addressing customer complaints, Bear’s Grill still has a long way to go. Long lines still cause interminable wait times for food, and the new layout that consolidates individual stations into one line makes getting food very complicated and difficult. Although we understand that the University’s dining facilities are in a state of transition and we respect that the University must exercise frugality with its budget in the current economic circumstances, we also assert that dining quality is a key component of the student experience. We hope that the University will continue to respond to criticism.

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