Dining Services has made a number of changes this year in the 10 dining halls and four snack bars it operates.
Lunch at South Quad was shortened by one hour Monday through Friday, while the dinner was extended 30 minutes during the week.
“Based on input we”ve received from students, and from our own studies we can”t justify longer serving hours,” said William Durell, director of Dining Services.
The deli bar has been limited to lunch in all 10 dining halls, and in some halls they are no longer self-serve. Also, dining services adjusted some meal hours and made cuts to the menu.
“One item we”ve got a lot of feedback on recently is the frequency of our deli bar,” Durell said.
But some students say the system-wide changes and budget tightening have led to negative effects.
“Because of budget-cutting, Bursley”s running out of food more often,” said one student employee of Dining Services, adding that Bill Durell”s initiative of seeking uniformity across the different dining halls to cut costs has reduced student options. Bursley no longer offers bottled fruit juices at breakfast, nor does it operate a hot dog machine at lunch and dinner.
“From a planning standpoint, we structure our purchases based on what we anticipate a student will eat in a specific meal,” said Alan Levy, University Housing public affairs director. “Run-outs are never intentional.”
Durell said he hopes to make dining halls more uniform because it is fairer for all students, and helps dining services run more efficiently.
“Hopefully wherever you go it”s just like McDonalds, if you want chicken broccoli bake it doesn”t matter where you”re eating, you”ll have the same recipe.”
The Bursley snack bar also changed this year. Formerly the Bursley Northbar, it served burgers, fries and other foods. This year the Northbar was replaced with the Bursley Blue Apple, a small snack bar and grocer.
Dining services hired a consulting firm to help them come up with the Bursley Blue Apple idea.
“Based on their market research we found that many of our student customers were looking for something along those lines,” he said, adding he is satisfied with the new facility. “We”ve hit on something that not only is favorable from the budgetary perspective, but as importantly meets the needs and preferences of a larger number of north campus residents than the predecessor facility.”
But some students complain that the selection at the Bursley Blue Apple is too limited.
“They don”t offer the selection that they used to of prepared hot food,” said Kevin Nowak, a resident adviser in Bursley.
“Admittedly, as we were talking to students we found some who felt very strongly that they wanted to retain the Northbar,” Durell said. “The majority of students on this campus that we have talked to are looking for more convenience store type offerings.”
Other students have complained about the high prices of goods in the Bursley Blue Apple.
“It”s marked up from somewhere like Kroger,” said Nowak.
“We pay proportionally more for the quantities we buy than, say, Meijer, or something like that,” Durell said. “We have to have a little bit of operating residual to put back into the enterprise.”