Sodexo Stirs Up the Pot

Stephanie Lipinski, Print Editor-In-Chief

The Sodexo dining services on campus are constantly changing to accommodate the demands of the student body. In this semester alone there have been changes in operating hours, wait times and menus.

In the beginning of the semester, Sodexo posted large signs showing changes in their operating hours. For example, Charlie’s Place is no longer open on Sundays, but the Courtyard Café is now open until 5 p.m. all weekend. However, even with these new hours, dining areas are consistently overcrowded during meal times, which cause longer wait times for students.

Many know that this year is the largest freshmen class Lewis has ever seen, and housing is booked to the max. So, with the increase in students, Sodexo is working diligently to accommodate the increase in bodies in the dining areas at primary meal times. Sodexo hopes that with Jazzman’s as an alternative option for students, lines and wait times will decrease.

“Jazzman’s current offerings have been very popular with students, faculty and staff,” Anthony DeRose, area marketing coordinator said.

“Sodexo is going to be expanding the offerings at the location to include a more diverse selection of grab-and-go meals along with a hot soup component. Adding the additional menu items will help to reduce the lines that are at the other locations.”

“Jazzman’s has a great atmosphere and well organized,” said Christopher Hueg, a graduate education student, and he hopes to see more options there in the future.

DeRose also assures students that the lines and wait times have decreased significantly since the beginning of the semester as students begin to form a routine. Also, the large circle tables in the Courtyard Café have been replaced by smaller tables in the hopes that more people will be able to sit and enjoy their meal.

Looking to long-term solutions, the Campus Master Plan has a new Student Center project that will help to reduce wait times at all campus locations. In addition, a new dining area will be added to St. Charles Borromeo hopefully completing the construction on the building. While additional dining areas will help solve these problems in the future, Sodexo has a new program that should help with long wait times.

Many students know that long lines often form at the registers, as there are a mix of resident students using meal cards and commuter students using real money. However, this year Sodexo has implemented a new commuter meal plan, in hopes of moving the lines quicker at the register, and increasing the involvement of commuter students.

“The commuter meal plan has been established to provide our commuter students with the opportunity to experience the various food operations on campus. Much of the daily student interaction occurs in our dining areas where the entire University community visits for meals, activities and events,” DeRose said.

The commuter meal plan automatically adds 25 dollars to commuter IDs each semester, but commuter students can add more money to their card if they so choose.

“Participation of the commuter meal plan is continuing to grow and many Commuters have added additional money to their student IDs,” DeRose said.

Even with these new changes, many students still wonder if the wait is worth the meal.

“I think Charlie’s has gone down in quality based on options available and taste,” Hueg said.

Indeed, Charlie’s has had a drastic change in menu, adding personal pizzas as an everyday lunch item, but taking away the quesadillas, which was often a popular item. However, DeRose assures students that the quesadillas will be returning as a regular menu item, especially after they returned to the menu on Oct. 6 with great success. While Charlie’s seems to be slowly improving, Courtyard has become the favorite for many students on campus.

“Courtyard hasn’t accommodated the increase in popularity, causing students to be frustrated with the quality of service,” Hueg said. “So often I ask for a sandwich to panini pressed with no tomato, but I get a toasted sandwich with tomato.”

Hueg also expressed his concern with the quality of the soup, wishing that there were more options and more contents within the soup.

“If I get chicken noodle soup, I want chicken and noodles, not chicken stock broth.”

Geena Calomino, a sophomore nursing major, expressed the same concerns.

“I don’t believe we get what we pay for. I think everything is made at the lowest quality possible.”

Despite the student complaints with the food quality, Sodexo is doing everything in their power to make the dining experience easy and enjoyable. They are planning many special events throughout the semester in hopes of creating more options for students. These events include the GO BIG promotions, which will offer a variety of special foods, the Crave Restaurants, back by popular demand, more Elite Events, for example Surf and Turf nights and Farmer’s Markets.

If students have any issues they wish to resolve, or ideas for menu items, Sodexo always encourages feedback in their office located in Charlie’s Place.

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