Dining continues focus on service, guest interaction

With the summer comes many changes and that includes dining services.

One significant change is the introduction of new vegan menu options coming to The Oaks.

The vegan concept “Shoots” will provide vegan fare for both lunch and dinner Monday through Friday.

Junior Cassandra Mitchell knows people who have struggled with vegan options on campus in the past and said the introduction of vegan food to The Oaks is positive.

“It’s good that we’re trying different things and trying to be more accomodating,” she said. “Two of my friends challenged each other [to be vegan] … they struggled very hard when they went to the Oaks.”

Senior Mariah Burks thinks the new vegan options are a great idea and the new the “Shoots” concept can benefit even those who aren’t vegan.

“I love having the choice of trying other food,” she said. “That way you don’t feel so stuck.”

Also being introduced this semester is the “Late Nights at the Sundial” concept, changing the Kreischer Sundial’s hours of operation to 5 p.m. to midnight every day.

Burks said while she understood the reasoning behind it, the new hours could result in students being forced to allow for awkward breaks in their day in order to reach the Sundial for dinner. This, she said, could especially affect freshmen, who make up the majority of Kreischer residents.

“And [people] wonder why students eat so haphazardly,” Burks said.

Another notable change is the relocation of Pinkberry from Carillon to The Oaks dining facility. Mike Paulus, director of dining services, said the move came down to location.

“Due the success of Dunkin Donuts on campus and easy access by off-campus guests, we decided to move Pinkberry to its new location due [to] availability of parking and easy access from off campus.” Paulus said.

Pinkberry at The Oaks opened last month and is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Paulus said a Dunkin Donuts cart is coming to Olscamp mid-September, offering a limited menu to students.

Last semester, dining services hosted several events at The Oaks and Carillon dining halls and Paulus said continuing those types of customer-engaging events will be a focus for them going forward.

“Events like our Murder Mystery Dinner or Gingerbread House classes were very well received last year,” Paulus said. “We will continue to layer programming within dining to increase both participation and guest satisfaction.”

Further highlighting dining services’ emphasis on customers, Paulus said taking care of guests is always an important factor.

“Customer satisfaction is always a focus for training and enhancement of the guest experience,” Paulus said. “We will continue to focus on service and guest interaction.”