Students still unsatisfied with Sodexo

Gabi Wy

Arriving at the loft early, Taeyan Dissett, a freshman majoring in business, eagerly eats a healthy dinner. Overall, the hours at Sodexo didn’t bother her. Photo by Hannah Spurgeon/The Shield

Grumbling stomachs spoke, and Sodexo answered.

Sodexo shifted breakfast options from retail dining to The Loft, and options like Cyclone Salads and Fiesta Fuego are open longer on weekdays as well as on the weekends.

Upperclassmen were divided on whether or not Sodexo has stepped in the right direction with the hour changes this year.

“It’s improved,” junior advertising major Loghan Daab said. “Making Fiesta Fuego open longer was definitely a good call by Sodexo. It makes more people want to stay on the weekends.”

Senior theatre major Maximilian Spears did not see progress as a result of the changes.
“They’re trying, but they’re really just failing,” he said. “Sometimes only the C-Store is open, so kids are trekking across campus to eat there.”

Interviewed students from freshmen to seniors complained of a lack of open dining options on the weekends—a dilemma for on-campus residents who had difficulty commuting to outside eateries. The students said these problems still exist seeing as The Loft isn’t open for dinner on the weekends.

Freshman business major Katie Marquardt said that the university lacks “substantial” food on Saturdays and Sundays.

Because her hometown, South Bend, is hours away, Marquardt said she is fortunate to have a car to drive to the C-Store when options in University Center are closed.

“People who live in the dorms have to have meal plans,” she said. “I’m paying tons of money just to go hungry on the weekends.”

While students have already spoken out both for and against the hours, the effectiveness of the changes aren’t obvious less than two weeks into the semester.

Director of Food Services Chris Briggs said that all of the university’s dining hour changes were based on “what the customers wanted.”

He said that last year, Sodexo’s Student Board of Directors conducted surveys and communicated with students. The board is made up of students who want to help make decisions by thinking of dining innovations or providing insight from their own experiences eating on-campus.

Based on the results, Briggs and Sodexo staff decided that the necessary targets of adjustment were Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Some things (about the survey results) that surprised me were that the complaints weren’t particularly about Burger King,” Briggs said.

He said that while Burger King no longer offers breakfast, The Loft’s earlier opening on weekdays compensates for one less morning option.

The Loft closing for dinner on the weekend shifts customers to retail dining such as Burger King, Cyclone Salads and Fiesta Fuego.

Because Sodexo extended dining hours for various food services, Briggs said he had to hire more workers, making a roster of employees over 200.

“These changes increase the cost of food services, and that cost is passed on to students,” he said.

He said that because pizza deliveries now originate from campus and the pizzeria in the C-Store only serves in-store customers, he hopes to “speed service and improve quality.”

Briggs said that overall food sales between dining options seem to have held up, but it is still too early to properly evaluate improvement.