Dining Services is Hungry for the Student Voice

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Published October 23, 2019
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The Montclarion
Alexis Kitchmire | The Montclarion

Last week, The Montclarion editorial staff met with a few members of dining services at Montclair State University to discuss how students can give them feedback.

The information they provided us was beneficial for the campus community because there are more ways for students to leave feedback and suggestions that a majority of them are unaware of.

One of the most important things students need to remember is not to be afraid to tell a representative or the chef if there is a problem. In many cases, students are not satisfied with the way their food was prepared and if they alert someone about the problem, they are guaranteed to fix it on the spot with no questions asked.

Students are more likely to be silent on these issues because they are afraid of being rude, but they need to remember that students pay a lot of money for the food as well as residents, who have to pay even more for their meal plans. We deserve the valuable service they offer for the price we pay and students should take advantage of it and have their needs met.

Another very important detail they mentioned was for those with allergies and dietary restrictions to self-identify and alert the staff of what they can and cannot eat. Each dining location on campus has its own allergen expert to assist students with specific restrictions.

Students are also instructed to register and “self-identify” in their allergen program. They can register at the Office of Student Disabilities, but should also be transparent about their needs.

Giving feedback is a way to ensure that mistakes don’t happen. These mistakes can easily be a missing or added ingredient, but it could also prevent allergic reactions. Students need to speak up if something is not right because not only will it benefit you as a customer, but it will also benefit those who work there, as they can get a sense of what students like or dislike along with what changes they want to see.

One way to reach out to dining services is through a survey that students, faculty and staff can take on the Dine On Campus website. Individuals are first asked to identify themselves with their year or another status on campus including graduate students, faculty and staff members. Next, they would fill out whether or not they live on campus as well as the approximate distance from where they live along with how many times a week they eat on campus.

They are then sent to a more detailed page where the campus community is asked which meals they eat on campus, what they do if they do not get food from the dining locations, their favorite foods and how much they spend.

The last page the campus community is taken to is a page where they are asked to rate different aspects of their meals from “Very Satisfied” to “Very Dissatisfied.”

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Students can fill out a Dining Survey on the Dine On Campus website. Screenshot taken by Rebecca Serviss

The campus community can also send emails to dining services directly from the website using the iPads in various locations, such as Sam’s Place, Freeman Hall and the Student Center Cafe to provide instant feedback.

When students enter their comments, it is directly sent to members of the staff, who are immediately notified when a comment is made.

Text-to-Solve is another way students may send immediate feedback to dining services. Students can send a text message to 973-233-4908 and will receive a response in 24 hours, but more than likely in as little as a few minutes. Dining services lets the campus community know about the changes they’ve made based on the feedback they receive on a page on their website called “We Heard You.”

Students can complain about the food they eat on campus, but it doesn’t do any justice to only discuss it with your friends. If you want to see changes in the way your food is made, you need to reach out to those who can make it happen. They are here to serve this campus, but they shouldn’t be left in the dark when the campus community is unsatisfied.

Please visit the Opinion Section of the website to view more students’ perspectives of on-campus dining.

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