‘All you care to eat’: Ullman Dining returns to pre-pandemic operations


Photo by Haley Clark- Reporter

The 360 Grill at Ullman Dining now offers students the option to order through GrubHub.

Haley Clark, Reporter

Ullman Dining is open to offer all you care to eat to students at California Lutheran University after offering take-out options to students during most of the pandemic.  

Associate Vice President of Planning and Services Ryan Van Ommeren, said in a zoom interview Ullman Dining is operating the same as it had pre-pandemic.

Van Ommeren said there are some adjustments that have been made in order to combat the staff shortage Cal Lutheran is experiencing. He also said Ullman Dining is trying to find a way to make the 360 grill a place where food is made to order but also a place where items are cooked fresh and plated so they are easy to grab. 

“We are trying to get a combination where things are still being made in front of you, but it eases the production process,” Van Ommeren said.

General Manager of Sodexo Patricia Yantzer, said in an email interview that the 360 grill is now supported by Grubhub, allowing students to order online and pick up their meal. 

“When there are technical challenges with Grubhub, then being able to write down your order is offered as a temporary fix,” said director of auxiliaries, Clinton Oie, in an email interview.  

Van Ommeren said while nothing has been limited, the menu has been simplified due to the labor shortage that is taking place.

“They are trying to simplify some of the offerings based on labor availability but they are absolutely dedicated to quality experience,” Van Ommeren said.

Oie said all food service staff are being required to wear a mask during service. 

“There is an ongoing challenge with labor, not just the staff to operate food services, but deliveries and product as well permeating the entire food industry,” Oie said. 

Oie said there are new food options being offered at Ullman Dining, which includes more vegan options, specialty sandwiches, and sushi. 

Yantzer said there are also changes that have been made to Ullman-to-Go. 

“Ullman-to-Go offers pre-made specialty sandwiches and sushi, a daily grilled cheese and tomato soup option, premium snacks, and increased beverage options,” Yantzer said. 

Oie said there is an increase in participation at Ullman Dining and Ullman-to-Go. There are more students coming into Ullman Dining than there was pre-pandemic. 

“With students back on campus the difference is night and day,” Oie said. 

Oie said during the pandemic, acrylic partitions were installed and windows were kept open during service for air flow. As state guidelines have relaxed, Ullman Dining is now able to operate at 100% capacity. 

“We are keeping the partitions in place, and the windows remain in manual operation,” Oie said. “Programmatic changes include expanding vegetarian options to be offered at most stations and the ‘vegetarian’ station is now entirely vegan.”

Oie said all CDC and Ventura County precautions are in place at Ullman Dining including sanitizer stations, contactless entry, and mask requirements. 

“There is a traditional occupancy load based on life safety and evacuation, but there are no social distance or physical distancing restrictions,” Van Ommeren said.

Yantzer said it has been a change moving from a take-out program that was originally put in place during the height of the pandemic to an all you care to eat platform. 

“It’s not a challenge, but rather a new set up with many new employees,” Yantzer said.

Van Ommeren said Ullman Dining was constructed with a patio on both sides of the building, making it suitable for the pandemic.

“The patios were never highly utilized in the past but now they are very popular with students,” Van Ommeren said. 

Ullman Dining is open every day to serve a wide variety of fresh menu items. The hours of operation can be found online on Ullman Dining’s webpage.