BY: Madelynn Turano
Changes made to dining services this year could result in students enjoying meals more and getting through lines faster with less congestion, said Director of Dining Services Ryan Richardson.
Students have noticed differences in the quality of food at Wick and the layout of the dining hall, which are only a few of the improvements they can expect, however.
“The new cooks are more caring and flexible to student needs and have the desire to help,” said Samantha Barker, a sophomore. Barker has food allergies that dining services accommodates. She said that the allergen-options have increased.
Goals of the changes are to provide greater service, highly-qualified cooks and less congestion, said Richardson. Certain stations in the hall have been moved in order to benefit the students.
Richardson confirmed that attendance at the College is getting higher, which has resulted in a shortage of space at the dining hall. He feels the improvements that were made this year have helped.
The name itself, Daemen Dining Services, is a step towards the start of new beginnings at the hall.
Goals were set at the beginning of the school year, causing staff to work hard during welcome back meetings and elaborate on teamwork, said Richardson.
Richardson wants to make people aware of the website daemen.edu/food (add hyperlink). All the menus are on the website, along with allowing students to purchase DC Bucks online.
Richardson said another change students can look forward to might begin as soon as Nov. 1, when online ordering for the Den will start on a trial basis.
“We are trying to enhance students’ experiences,” he said. Richardson said there was no cost difference for students in the meal plan this year, another goal of the project.
According to daemen.edu the price of a 19-meal plan is $1,838 per semester, when last year it was $1,787 per semester, resulting in a small increase. But it is unclear why the small increase occurred, as Richardson said it is not due to the renovations. Richardson said staff was resourceful in revising the layout plan for the hall.
Students are adjusting to the changes.
“There is room for improvement still, but it is a major improvement from when I first started here,” said Yecenia Bravo, a senior. She said the lines have been going quicker and the food is tasting better. Bravo suggested increasing the menu options at the Den.
“The lines are confusing to adjust to and more guidance is needed than what they have right now,” Ellen Merchant, a transfer student, said. She also noted that the staff are more energized.
Richardson likes getting such feedback and wants to hear from students, he said. He also has more surprises in store for them. The changes that are coming to RIC’s Daily Grind are top secret right now, he said, adding there are future plans for improvement coming soon.