Dining Hall addresses student concerns

Zach Henson


The Trojan Dining Hall is employing new training strategies, staff members, expanded menus and equipment to address concerns expressed by students in a recent Facebook thread.

A Tropolitan reporter asked members of the Troy Students Facebook page to comment their concerns regarding the  Trojan Dining Hall and received almost 100 responses within a few days. Concerns ranged from operating hours and the freshness of food to customer service issues.

“To the door with that nasty food!” wrote Annisty Thompson, a senior fine arts major from Eclectic. “Then the workers act like we are bothering them.”

Other students complained that the Trojan Dining Hall was not open late enough and there were often no choices during continuous dining hours.

According to Brian Brown, the Trojan Dining Hall’s production manager, and Elizabeth Eaise, the Trojan Dining Hall’s unit marketing manager, the dining hall is working to fix as many issues as possible.

Each new semester offers new challenges, Brown explained, and this semester has been particularly difficult due to staffing issues, which have made mistakes more prominent.

“It’s easy to see that we are short-staffed over there, but we are hiring all the time,” Brown said. “We’re getting there.”

In the past two weeks, several employees have been added to the staff, which means more stations can be open and more attention can be paid to details.

“I’ve been embarrassed by some of the things I’ve been hearing about customer service,” Brown said. “We’ve taken steps to give better customer service on that point, and it’s ongoing.”

The training does not stop at customer service, however. Staff members are also working to keep food fresher, even during continuous dining periods when traffic is low.

Brown said that other training points centered around keeping condiments stocked and clean and giving consistent portions.

New menu items are being circulated to ensure variety and nutrition, especially at the vegetarian station, according to Eaise, while Brown said that allergen-friendly options are being given special attention. According to Brown, Simple Servings menu, which was originally not available on the weekends, is now being incorporated into the main line.

Other steps taken by the dining hall include putting several extra cases of silverware and bowls in circulation. Employees also have access to emergency stashes of plasticware in case the silverware at their stations runs out.

Todd Harding, a sophomore political science major from Bay Minette, said he has seen improve food quality and customer service.

“I’ve noticed the past week the silverware and plates have been cleaner and stocked on time,” Harding said.

Both Brown and Eaise agreed that students may not be satisfied with one serving of a dish but said they could always get another helping.

Although some concerns mentioned cannot be immediately changed, Eaise asked students to submit feedback in an upcoming two-week survey in October. 

“Feedback never goes unnoticed,” Eaise said. “It never goes to deaf ears. 

“We take it very seriously because without your feedback, we don’t know what to fix. Feedback is crucial to our business.”

Eaise further encouraged students to reach out to the Trojan Dining Hall facilities through social media, her email or Food Advisory Committee at Troy (FACT) meetings.

Eaise can be reached at elizabeth.eaise@sodexo.com, and the first FACT meeting will be held in the Faculty and Staff Dining Room at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 to address concerns expressed by students in a recent Facebook thread.

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