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Dining Center shakes things up

Additional reporting by Neilay Shah.

After changes in management, the Dining Center has added more variety in an effort to boost student satisfaction.

“These changes came about because of increasing requests from students for more variety, more options,” Production Manager Dan McCorkle said.

The modifications include more locally grown fruits and vegetables, and a greater variety of meats and cheeses at the deli bar.

Most evident, however, is the addition of “action bars” at dinner, where diners make their own dishes from prepared ingredients: “Pastabilities,” a pasta bar, on Monday nights; an Asian bar on Tuesday; a noodle and soup bar on Wednesday; and an Indian bar on Thursday.

All the changes were intended to “expand [the DC’s] offerings without putting a tremendous amount of burden on our kitchen,” said McCorkle. Still, the new offerings do create some new responsibilities for DC staff.

“These new bars do require more work on the part of the DC,” said Student Manager Tatiana Hammond ’15. “We’ve been working on a campaign to hire more student workers. We are hoping, in the long term, to vastly increase student employment at the DC.”

Tom Walker, a staff member for the past 25 years, agreed that “the pace of work has increased,” but added that the management has been responsive to staff needs.

According to McCorkle, the feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. The long lines at the action bars each night suggest that students are embracing the changes.

“They are great, because they add more variety every night,” said Peter Kissin ’13, who has been eating from the action bars about twice a week. “Although I feel like they could get tiring after a while.”

According to student worker Ever Ramirez ’14, when there are complaints, the staff bears the brunt of diners’ dissatisfaction. Diners are often rude to staff when they are not happy with the menu, even though the staff has no control over the night’s offerings he said.

“Regardless of changes, students still complain,” said Ramirez. “The changes have just created new complaints.”

The changes in food offerings have coincided with shifts in management. Since Student Services and Quality Assurance Manager John Francone’s departure in November, his leadership responsibilities have been shared by McCorkle, Catering Manager Bruce Levine, and Operations Manager Corey Wilkinson.

Meanwhile, Bryn Mawr has become “more and more involved” with Haverford dining services over the last three years, said McCorkle. In 2009, Haverford’s Board of Managers and Bryn Mawr’s Board of Trustees agreed to consolidate the two schools’ dining services under the direction of Bi-Co Director of Dining Services Bernie Chung-Templeton.

“The decision to [consolidate], under me as Bi-Co director, was to work towards Haverford getting the same high satisfaction ratings BMC dining receives,” said Chung-Templeton. Although DC management has seen “much better satisfaction in the past several weeks, we haven’t nearly reached our goal of getting student satisfaction to a much higher level.”

“Hell yeah, there will be more changes,” Chung-Templeton added, “so stay tuned.”

ABOVE: Diners prepare their dishes at the Asian bar. (photo by Thy Vo)

One Comment

  1. Matt da Silva April 24, 2012

    These new action bars are making me regret not being on the meal plan this year. They are great for nights when the hot bar items just aren’t appealing to me. I’m excited to see what other changes Chung-Templeton has planned.

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