Dining Services text feedback sees limited use

Deborah Spencer | Contributing Reporter

Dining Services is now allowing students to text feedback about their orders.

Hoping to find a quicker way to get responses about their service, Dining Services launched a pilot of the text feedback program this fall.

Officials hope that the new feedback option will encourage students to provide more feedback, but many students say they were not aware of the option.

Dining Services officials had been seeking a new feedback system for a while when Paul Schimmele, Dining Services manager on the Danforth Campus, found the Text N Tell service—through which the feedback is facilitated—at a conference this summer.

In the past, student feedback to Dining Services has been solicited through comment cards, emails and surveys.

Resident District Manager Nadeem Siddiqui discussed the challenges of finding a new system that would allow staff to address student feedback without being overwhelmed.

“[The system had] to meet the criteria. The biggest one is data security. The second one is ease of usage. The third one is that it’s not just pop-up, that there are people behind it to support it, and that we can comfortably use it without dropping off the face of the earth,” Siddiqui said. “[It is] the next stage of input. Student lives are so busy—when they’re in line, immediately send[ing] it out makes it easier.”

The system will allow staff to respond to feedback via text as well, according to Kristi Baker, who is currently serving as marketing coordinator for Bon Appetit.

When a student sends in a text, the system sends a default acknowledgment message. The people who manage the on-campus system then send another response to the student and forward the feedback to whomever needs to be aware.

Baker added that Dining Services hopes to be able to display student texts and staff responses on a digital screen soon.

Many students, however have not heard about the program since its recent launch.

“I don’t really know about it, haven’t heard about it. So if they’re going to do that, maybe [they should be] showing it a bit more,” freshman Eliza Farran said.

“They need more than a sign,” senior Michael Land added.

Sophomore David Gumins, a student on the Dining Services Advisory Committee, acknowledged, “It is a very slow release. Students are still becoming aware.”

Despite the lack of student knowledge of the system, Executive Chef of the DUC David Rushing noted the obvious advantages of the system.

“It’s faster; it’s just more direct,” Rushing said.

“We’ll have to see what usage is after it becomes full blown,” Siddiqui said.

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