The results of the Dining Services Fall 2015 survey shed some insight into what could possibly be altered for a better dining experience in Central Oregon Community College’s cafeteria. Students were satisfied with the speed of service, the ability to eat a balanced meal, and the fact that their food is prepared to order.
Students then categorized what they thought could be improved upon. The quality of ingredients, taste of the food, and the inconsistency of the quality of food were the largest issues that students had with the meals. In response to the survey, Sodexo is adding additional vegan and vegetarian options, updating the grill section, and modifying the hours of service to better accommodate the busy schedules that many students have.
Melissa Miller, the food services director at COCC, provided more information on the shift in the cafeteria. To make sure that all students will get a chance to chow down, the cafeteria has extended its hours.
“Monday through Friday, breakfast is 7–9 a.m; lunch is 11–2 p.m; and dinner is 5–7 p.m. On the weekends, the brunch hours are 11–2 p.m and the dinner options run from 5–7 p.m”, Miller said.
Behind the lines of students waiting for their food there is a small team of 2–3 people that prepare the dishes daily to ensure optimum freshness. The staff reject any product that they do not believe to be up to their standard, and they also keep everything clearly labeled and dated in accordance with national food safety standards.
There are now less fried foods and a wider variety of healthier servings on display, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Every Monday and Wednesday there are vegan and vegetarian options, which were highly rated by students as something they wanted to see. The company behind the cafeteria, Sodexo Food Services, has also started to transition from using regular eggs to cage-free eggs. At COCC, this new rule has already been implemented. The shift is large, but Miller is convinced that it’s for the better.
“It’s a good change, and it helps the industry standard (to go cage free).” Miller said.
The fresh ingredients come from farms in Oregon and Washington, and suppliers such as Franz Bread and Sister’s Coffee to stock the pantry. By keeping the food local, Sodexo is proactively supporting regional companies and limiting the delivery time from the fields to the kitchen, so that the food tastes fresher.
Aside from those large changes, Miller explained that there is now a small deli with grab-and-go dishes for the times when students are especially busy but want something balanced to eat while they study. The meal plans are developed about a week in advance to account for any delivery errors or delays. The system is streamlined for accuracy and efficiency. Still, this new term will hopefully satisfy the needs of the student body.
“A bigger variety and diversity (in the food) would be awesome,” COCC freshman Allisyn Beckwith said. “They serve stuff repeatedly and it gets boring.”
If students are displeased with the service or quality of their food, they can directly text Miller.
“Feedback does matter, I take it into account.” Miller said.
Students can text ‘COCC’ to 82257 to start the process, or they can call 541-330-4389 if they’d rather talk on the phone. You can get more information and view the menus at cocc.sodexomyway.com.
Lily Gunther | The Broadside