September 5, 2008
Renovations to the serving lines in Marquis Hall are wrapping up and meal plan options have been expanded for residence students, all in an effort to improve Food Services on campus.
James McFarland, assistant director and executive chef, said a number of factors are behind the changes, the first being the university’s decision last spring to do away with external management of its nine retail food outlets and Marquis Hall dining operation. An extensive student survey in March also pointed to areas that needed improvement, as did a less-than-flattering profile of Food Services in Maclean’s magazine.
“The Maclean’s article really didn’t reflect well on Food Services,” said McFarland, “but I really think we’re out of the gate with something positive here.”
The renovations in the serving area in Marquis Hall will create a single line for both meal plan and cash customers, explained McFarland. A number of new serving stations will see chefs and staff preparing a wider variety of made-to-order meals, and service hours have been extended.
“We’re looking at trends at other universities … and at the fact that eating habits have changed. We’re also trying to better accommodate class schedules by extending our hours.”
Food Services has also expanded its meal plan options for residence students and campus community members, and has updated its website to keep customers apprised of meal rotations. Food quality is also being addressed across the board, McFarland said, adding he recently purchased about 300 pounds of fresh vegetables grown by members of the university’s Horticulture Club. And, biodegradable take-out containers will be available for purchase for weekday lunch.
Most importantly, McFarland said Food Services will regularly survey its customers to assess the success of these improvements.