Survey Raw Responses: What has been the biggest challenge or lesson learned with your dining/food service process?
APPA > Survey Raw Responses: What has been the biggest challenge or lesson learned with your dining/food service process?
Identifying sufficient locations where students can remove masks to eat and maintain social distancing and cleaning protocols.
Opening a new food service program during COVID is a big task and when the inspections came too late, alternatives were used to provide meals to our small population.
Dining services were implemented to support students in residence. This was kept exclusively for students in order to add an additional layer of safety. This required opening additional services to support on campus staff needs.
Due to a restricted seating arrangement, the University had to add additional outdoor seating by installing multiple large tents at different campus locations.
Culture change: difficulty with modifying student behavior.
Having to find a number of additional locations and methods to supply meals.
Disruption to our campus composting program. Difficulty accommodating the staff.
That students still want to continue to socialize without taking the required safety precautions. Having a hybrid semester makes it difficult to gauge the number of folks that will come to eat in-dining services.
Flexibility is key. We started offering take home meals for families and employees since we aren’t cooking lunch. At least it keeps our food service contractor in business.
Because of limited staff on campus, food service is going well. We anticipate challenges once we go into a hybrid model.
It has gone well. The pivot to take out service worked well. Moving back to in-person dining is working well.
Trash management created by volume of single use products. With de-densification of campus, reduced number of dining contracts has a financial impact.
Limited hours and dining capacity. Assigned dining family groups of 10 or less.
It seems to be working out.
Very limited plans.
Reduced occupancy in the dining hall, slightly alleviated by the reduced student count. Ensuring proper environmental modifications are in place to minimize contact and allow for social distancing.
I believe it is working as expected.
Menu alterations to help move students more quickly through the dining areas (grab and go items) as well as promoting eating outside of the dining halls.
Dining services isn’t delivering to the rooms, so they will make the food for those that are in isolation/quarantine but then HRL staff are having to deliver them accordingly.
Long lines to obtain food. Opened up 3 other locations to obtain grab n go food.
All dining centers have a limited amount of seating allowed and all orders are put into take out containers. Each student could get 6 containers per meal which has caused a large increase in the amount of trash being generated.
Our waste and litter has increased from takeout food options.
The school has 4 areas where food can be obtained, some pre-packaged, all pay by card only. Instead of the one server, there are now 4 and the food service provider has had to staff up.
Volume (or lack thereof) of customers.
The excessive amounts of trash due to the large volume of takeout packaging of the meals.
We contract out this service, and we should have insisted on better communication from our vendor.
Converting all dining locations to grab and go and utilizing the technology to place and pick up orders. Creating the process for getting food to the COVID quarantine students.
Balancing the requirements of service with the limited consumer demand on campus; also complying with local ordinances regarding indoor/outdoor dining.
The increase in waste with so many to-go containers.
Dining isn’t fully open.
Distributing food by bus to 85,000 students around the county every day.
Seating for social distance. Obviously you can’t wear a mask while eating so space had to be “acquired” from various sources to accommodate.
Planning for the extra volume outside.
Reduced staffing and number of dining commons open.
Our use of food services is significantly down so the vendor has lost a great amount of revenue. They have done a wonderful job supporting our students however.
The retraining of staff and students to the new process.
Waste disposal from take-out.
The amount of trash generated. They are not sitting in the dining room so students sit in other places that now have to be monitored/cleaned.
Few takers on prepared box lunches.
In tents, grab and go – again – still too early to tell. Talk to us when it gets cold!
Not enough staffing to open a second location. Increased use of paper products resulting in vast increases in trash.
Getting students used to eating to go food as opposed to sitting in the cafeterias.
Guidelines for faculty/staff dining services weren’t clearly known. Needed to do a better job of letting them know the extent of changes made for students and how those changes would affect them.
Turn over times created longer lines then we want so that is being reconsidered now.
All students are required to live on campus and we have one dining room that seats all students at a time. Had to significantly change dining to accommodate multiple meal shifts, promote social distancing, and keep same group of students together at each meal to assist with contact tracing. Queuing through the serving line is especially challenging.
We have cancelled public food service.
Providing enough compost bins across campus for the compostable containers, napkins and utensils. Providing additional outdoor seating.
We went to disposable plastic ware. No self-serve.
Maintaining centralized dining location. Lesson: Limit dining locations. Focus on cleaning and disinfection.
Providing sufficient variety to please our students.
The lines are longer than anticipated as we typically rely on student workers not available during initial quarantine. We are doing take out for the first 3 weeks with limited indoor dinning (not yet established). The reliance on take-out is generating a lot of trash especially given the volume of each take out container. Preserving the waste management elements of our sustainability plan is being challenged.
Inside restrictions working – grab and go is working but trash accumulation was not fully anticipated.
Students continue to sit together and not social distance from others.
Shifting to grab and go.
Changing old habits.
We had to shut down the food service operation this year due to insufficient volume.
Additional trash across campus from increased take away meals.
100% to-go dining has required an immense waste removal effort with the increase of bags, clam-shell boxes, drink cups, napkins, etc…
Closed dining venues on campus for lack of demand.
Number of students on campus does not warrant the amount of food vendors that are open.
Determining how to social distance and providing additional areas for students to eat once the dining hall was de-densified.
Need to adjust as needed.
Additional waste from disposable containers.
How to feed students when dining hall capacity is greatly diminished. The time increase that meal serving takes.
Just getting things set up with all the new restrictions.
Only outdoor eating at this time. All venues to go orders. Significant trash stream increase.
The amount of trash on campus daily has almost doubled – this is due to the amount of takeout and delivery being done out of our dining halls in order to manage social distancing in the dining areas.
Working without sourced food service.
First weekend we had a large gathering of people due to lack of scheduling issues. This has since been corrected and now have greater time gaps between groups to allow for clear out.
The food app (BITES) was not ready in time. With the maximum occupancy and social distancing requirements there were 2 hour waits in food lines at every meal. This should have been ready sooner or alternative ways for people to get food.
Cuing for pick-up and timing of student pick-ups has not been as good as was hoped for. The vendor (Sodexo) has been forward leaning, but the facilities do not lend themselves well to pick-up only. Significant parent concerns have been voiced.
Boost online system had technical difficulties. Some minor adjustments being made, but for the most part Dining Services is working well.
We discontinued Food Service as we are a commuter school and rely on vending for snacks.
Minimal food service.
Limited resources with seating.
Organization of times for meals.
Social distancing guidelines not followed/enforcement issues.
Customers were not pleased with social distancing; Substantial increase in waste production which caused additional collection points and increased frequency.
Need for additional seating to accommodate social distancing, need for outside seating, changes and adapting to the changes in state guidelines for social distancing was a little challenging.
Far fewer students returned to campus than planned. As a result, having to close down several venues and consolidate due to lack of revenue. We even rented tents for outdoor dining since seats were limited inside. The tents have yet to be used.
Take out only, with staff serving all food.
Take out container waste.
Very sparse interest in food service.
A lot of extra trash generated outside and the amount of resources needed to manage the trash.
Building layout, implementing automated food ordering and delivery systems.
Delivering meals to students in quarantine.
Prepare better for the rush ordering rather than a steady stream. Wait times for food pick up during the first week was entirely too long.
Vast increase in refuse is a constant battle with minimal funds for disposal. Also the food quality is poor as compared to the pre-COVID environment.
Outside tents to be used for dining turned out to be in violation of code and had to be removed. Take out containers are not being washed by students and attracting various pests.
Be prepared for a significantly larger meal-related waste stream, originating from places that are not normally seen as significant. For example, our grounds crew now works 7 days per week to clear food-related trash from cans around campus (meals to go so far, first sit-down meals at dining hall this coming weekend).
Dining services have been limited, however, other services have been added, such as take-out dining. Challenge: Limited space due to social distancing.
Very limited menu selection is keeping consumers away so we haven’t had much of a challenge.
System is working pretty well, but students (parents) not happy with the limited choices in the grab-and-go, no-buffet environment.
Again, the best plans need to be flexible. We changed at the very end and reduced and consolidated our food areas.
Our food service contracted provider has worked throughout the pandemic at a substantially reduced man level and offerings. It is a ghost of a shell of its capabilities and most of their hourly employees were laid off at the onset. All coking, refrigeration and freezing systems must continue to be maintained as well as all HVAC systems regardless of full or partial use.
Take out can work.
Extra trash and waste it creates.
Alternative venues have been created in outdoor spaces/areas. Weather (i.e. hurricane Laura, and subsequent rains) have greatly impacted availability, even with tent coverings.
Excessive trash since most meals are now grab and go- makes recycling almost impossible. Getting meals to those in isolation.
Options greatly diminished.
We limit the number of people in our dining halls. We have expanded our take out service.
Helping students understand how the new processes work.
Trash post meals is off the charts.
Not many in-person students on campus to patronize food court area.
All food service areas on campus, with the exception of one location, have been closed. There are no plans to reopen this fall semester.
Keeping students 6″ apart when in line.
Students want to sit together and want hot food so grab and go has not gone over well.
Having systems to maintain social distancing. Food services is utilizing GRUBHUB App so that customers can pick up food at designated points.
Social distancing while eating as they have to remove their masks.
Everything on campus is closed except the dining hall feeding the students on campus. This makes it very inconvenient for staff that have to be on campus.
The need for everyone to be patient and also to follow the protocols. How best to remind students what needs to be done without harping.
With many classes on-line, many faculty teaching from home and lower dormitory occupancy, our food service volume has dropped significantly which is affecting our revenue.
Enough interior/exterior physically-distanced seating to accommodate the number of students using grab & go.
New vendor to start this fall and it’s much more of a challenge than they had anticipated but so far, so good.
Students will not social distance while eating.
Lack of customers.
Feeding quarantine or isolated individuals is become increasingly difficult.
Mostly closed due to limited students on campus.
Keeping distance between students.
We have not opened dining services at our campuses.
A lot of trash added.
Reduction in income.
Keeping up with the trash. During the first two weeks (when all residential students were self-quarantining) dining halls were take-out only. This created a lot of new waste in areas across campus (typically near the dining halls) that we hadn’t seen before. We made adjustments and put additional cans out in these areas, but the first few days resulted in a lot of over-flowing trash cans.
All meals are served buffet rather than self-serve or made to order. Dining halls were closed for the first two weeks of the semester with all food being take out. The trash from takeout meals has been a challenge to handle because it’s very distributed.
How to keep the operation open in a reduced retail environment.
The lower numbers on campus have resulted in most of our food concepts closing for the semester.
Many students did not eat inside of the dining area but opted for takeout. Trash containers filled very quickly due to the size of containers and the increased amount of food outside of the dining area.
Program is working well. Limited seating and a lot of take out.
Extensive preplanning prevented any major issues.
Everything is “To go” which creates much more trash than we were ready for.
We have had culinary students pick up a prepared box of ingredients for them to cook as part of the lesson plan. They weren’t allowed in the building, had to call when they arrived and someone would provide the box to them. It’s very hard for any of these hands-on programs to learn without actually being there. We would teach basics online but then the hands-on training needed to occur on campus.
Challenge is the increase in garbage in the residence halls as students bring their take-out meals back to their rooms to eat.
Grab and go caused increase in trash across campus.
Most is to go so the amount of trash generated and increased service of same has been the largest challenge
Keeping students compliant with social distancing.
Quality of meals arranged for quarantined students.
Not a residential campus. We have a new food vendor. Challenge is getting customers to come to the student center and purchase food given the lower numbers of employees and students on campus.
Very limited food service available.
Students were not compliant with the guidelines for the first few days – too many people entered the dining area, students were moving tables & chairs, etc. Since most food is to go and outdoor seating has increased, significantly more trash pick-up has been needed and during hours that Grounds isn’t typically on campus. We’ve had to utilize contractors to perform additional trash removals. Bees have been a huge issue with outdoor dining. Numerous students are getting stung and it’s been difficult to mitigate since they are attracted to the food and the trash cans.
Students finding places to eat the grab & go food.
Scheduling pick-ups to ensure social distancing.
Getting enough student workers. Additional prep time for packaged food to limit touching.