Sodexo listens to students, offers more options
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 08:09
Many students rely on their meal plans as their only food options. From the Acansa dining hall to the many restaurants in the food court, students have a variety of choices, but are the options within the cafeteria decided by students? According to David Miller, director of Sodexo Dining Services, they are.
Food offered in the Acansa Dining Hall goes through many hands before finally landing on the plates. Sodexo services have a national and regional menu to pick from.
“Obviously our team of chefs (choose the meals). I really can’t tell you exactly how they go about it, but we also get student input from our National Board of Student Directors. We look at trends,” Miller said.
There is also a committee of students on campus that meet each month to discuss the feedback they’ve heard about Acansa and the food court options.
Healthy choices are beginning to rise up through dining services. Recently, there has been advertisement of more “mindful” entrees being offered, meal choices with low sodium. Students can choose from grilled chicken, pizza, handmade sandwiches or a simple salad.
“I think the menus are well balanced as far as being healthy, but if you want that cheeseburger, you can still get that cheeseburger,” Miller said.
“I think the caf has a very large variety to choose from. I love the grill and the chicken. There are healthy choices, and there’s comfort food, yet I do think they should try to get more fresh fruit out there. Strawberries and grapes would be nice,” Juan Robles, a senior political science and Spanish major of Dequeen, said.
“The staff is extremely friendly. I love that they try to help with as much as possible, and are very quick about things,” Lexa Flye, a freshman communication disorders major of Paragould, said. “The only thing I don’t like is when things aren’t stocked.”
Depending on classification, meal plans can range from $255 to $1,560. Money that is paid to meal plans does not just go specifically to the purchase of food, however. Expenses also cover the wages of the staff, manager salaries, utensils, cleaning supplies, cooking equipment and the security system that has been placed around campus.
A scholarship is also given out from Dining Services, which is inclusive in the purchase of meal plans. Food court options, such as Chik-Fil-A, and Starbucks, are also paid for by students.
“The meal plan was just too expensive for me. I did have one last year, but I needed to save money this year,” Shaun McDonald, a sophomore nursing major of Charleston, said about her meal plan choice.
Although members of Sodexo and the other dining services are open to suggestions, many students find it hard to complain about things they don’t like. If students do have a complaint, Sodexo recommends leaving feedback on the comment board near the exit of the dining room, or to email dining services.
Miller said Sodexo enjoys fixing problems students have with the dining services.
“The only kind of feedback we don’t like is the kind that comes too late for us to fix,” he said. “We like to fix things.”
To find menus or contact dining services visit http://www.astate.edu/dining/.