Aramark, Capital’s food provider, has made many changes to the dining experience, some large and some small.
For one, the appearance has changed. In the Main Dining Room (MDR), all-new carpeting has been laid and remodeling projects are underway. Soon, the pizza station will match the appearance of the salad bar. It will also have heating units both above and below the pizza to keep it warmer for longer.
The food selection in the MDR has also undergone change. Fresh fruit is now available everyday, both whole and cut up. The biscuits and gravy served at breakfast are now made on site, as are the desserts.
Chuck Chapman, Aramark’s general manager, said that the addition of another baker to the kitchen staff will help the dessert bar stay better stocked.
In addition to the soft-serve ice cream machine, a frozen yogurt machine is also set to be installed. Fresh doughnuts are also delivered to the MDR, One Main Café, and the Capital Grounds coffee shop located in Saylor-Ackerman hall.
When it comes to the main course, more variety has been added. At the ethnic foods station, there is a weekly schedule in place. Instead of daily specials as in years past, this station will now operate by the week. So instead of “Taco Tuesday” once every week, a whole week of Mexican food will come around when it is on schedule. Such is also the case with Indian, Italian, and other world cuisines.
Improvements have also been made in One Main Café. Perhaps the most noticeable is the new pager system adopted by the staff. Instead of taking a card with their order number, patrons are now given a pager that will buzz when their food is ready.
Chapman said that this system has decreased the wait time at One Main from just above thirty minutes to between ten and fifteen minutes. The wait time has decreased significantly, and so have the complaints from students about it.
Yet another addition to the dining experience are themed events. In One Main, movies are shown every Friday evening, culminating in a costume party on the last Friday in September. There has already been a 1950s-themed night and Wing Wednesdays will be a weekly occurrence. One Main will also be streaming Capital football games, offering a sort of tailgate experience for both home and away games.
Chapman said that communication of ideas between Aramark and students is essential to the improvement of the overall dining experience. Aramark has begun to release a newsletter, telling students exactly what to expect at the MDR as well as One Main Café. These can be picked up at the cash registers at the entrances of both establishments.
Both Chapman and supervisor Sherelle Wallace also cited student surveys as a vital means of information exchange.
When asked about the importance of student feedback, Chapman said, “There’s a lot of people that just write ‘It sucks’… they give you no help …”
He continued to stress the importance of detailed reviews, saying that these are what helps Aramark change for the better.
Chapman said that although he has gotten positive response on the changes so far, there will be more changes.
“We’re more focused on what the kids want,” says Wallace, “making sure we … get everything [they] want to see up here.”
Fall of 2016 has seen positive changes for Aramark and the Capital University dining experience, and Chuck Chapman and Sherelle Wallace assure the students that there are more to come, provided feedback keeps coming from students.