The Pinnacle took random questions and concerns from students about Campus Dining services, and David McHargue, Director of Dining Services, discussed student concerns.
Pinnacle: Does BC need more dining options on campus other than the Mountaineers dining and Crossroad Café, in order to meet the growing needs of students on campus?
McHargue: The college has actually put plans into the new science building to have a grab and go option which will allow students on that side of campus the option of getting something quick at that location.By Lenox K.
Pinnacle: The long lines at check-in, and waiting for “regulated rations,” is sometimes quite frustrating, what can be done to eliminate these long lines?
McHargue: It can be just as frustrating for us at times as well. During the peak times at lunch from 11:30 to 12:15 will feed between 50% to 60 % of our total for lunch. With an average of around 750 that means we will feed 375 to 450 people in that 45 minute time span. With that being said, the college has purchased us some extra warming equipment which will help us prepare some items ahead of time. We are also looking at adding at least one more station which will allow us to set up two lines for whatever format has the most popular items for the meal.
Pinnacle: Mountaineers dining team has what it takes to create spectacular dishes, as we sometimes see with catering services subscription, and when President Roelofs comes to Lunch? Why can’t student enjoy these type of services on a daily basis?
McHargue: We do not change our menu at all when Dr. Roelofs comes to lunch. Most of the time we do not know he is coming until the day of so our menus are already set and would have been served regardless. Many of the dishes we serve at catering events are the same items we serve in the dining hall it is just on a smaller scale. We do struggle at times to present our food in a way that truly shows how it will taste. Your eyes are a big part of how you perceive the taste of what you eat. We are continually working with our staff on presentation and have actually had our Regional Chef in this past week working with our team. We will be purchasing some new small wares which will update the look of some of our formats and make them much more pleasing to the eye.
Pinnacle: Flex Dollars; some students argue that the Flex dollars allotment is not evenly distributed, students with 14 Meal Plan receive $150.00, while students on 10 meal plans receive only $200.00 Flex Dollars per semester, do you think this needs revision?
McHargue: I do and we are in the process of working through this and will present to the college for approval this year.
Pinnacle: Why not allow students to use their flex dollars at BC&T, College Farm store etc.?
McHargue: We actually looked at doing that a couple years ago and the cost it would add to the students and the infrastructure it would require to transfer the money to other areas was not going to work.
Pinnacle: A few miles away from BC, Transylvania University and Centre College offer students four and three on-campus dining locations respectively, with extended dining hours up to 9.30pm in the main dining halls. Both Colleges are also contracted by Sodexo; does Sodexo have any influence on service hours on BC campus?
McHargue: We set our hours in cooperation with the college. Currently we are open until 7:15pm in the main dining hall. In the past we were only open until 7:00 pm but students had requested the extra 15 min for time to get to dining from practice and other activities on campus. We have also extended the lunch hours from 1:00 pm to include a soup, sandwich and salad option until 4pm. This was done to insure those students with the most hectic schedules due to classes would have the opportunity to eat. I also checked with both Transylvania University and Centre on the hours for their main dining hall and they close at 7pm at Transylvania and 8pm at Centre respectfully. Both campuses have retail operations as we do that stay open until midnight.
Pinnacle: Many BC students complain about inflexible service hours with the Mountaineers dining hall. Can the Mountaineers dining services make revisions on hours of operation to accommodate students till 10.00pm?
McHargue: Currently we open at the dining hall at 7 am and we close at 7:15 pm Monday through Thursday and 6:45 pm on Friday. During this time frame we are only closed from 10:30 am till 11am and from 4pm till 4:30 pm. Could we extend hours? Sure, if the college and Sodexo determined it was needed.
Pinnacle: Finally, BC serves Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper products just to name a few, in the dining hall, Crossroad Café, and all vending machines all over Campus, why not Coca-Cola “Coke?” What is BC’s history with “Coke?” Or is BC anti-Coke?
McHargue: That is one area we have no control over. The campus decides who will provide vending and what company services our soda on campus.