With the new semester underway, the Dinning Commons at CLU features multiple changes to their on-demand system.
Sodexo, the company that provides California Lutheran University with food services, decided to change the menu options for the spring semester. Along with gluten-free options, some new additions to the Caf include tilapia, macaroni and cheese, cheese and spiced fries, specialty chicken and salad choices and freshly made cupcakes. There is also an athlete’s portion option so students watching their protein intake can get larger helpings of protein-rich foods.
“We wanted to bring a newer, fresher approach to the new semester,” said Dave Trombetta, the senior marketing manager for Sodexo’s campus services on the West Coast. “[It] costs more to do it this way. Put [in] more money to get better quality. In the long run, we turn out a better product.”
For students who have meal plans, the costs stay the same. Some of the extra money went into the new food prepping system, reorganizing and rearranging the kitchen, and bringing in two corporate chefs to train the cooks on site a week after the Christmas break.
“We had a week’s worth of training, from top to bottom of how it’s going to be done,” said Amy Krowpan, a cook who has been with Sodexo for 12 years. “We have a whole new process of doing things back here.”
However the improvements have increased the wait time to receive an order.
“It has been very, very busy since the new opening,” said Trombetta. “Busier than we anticipated.”
To help improve efficiency, the Caf will be adding convection ovens to the kitchen. Despite the longer-than-usual wait time, students are attracted to the new options and are willing to wait to taste the food.
“The other food was just so bland and dry,” said freshman Justin Bloom. “Now they’re making it with more flavor.”
“It definitely tastes more fresh,” said sophomore Carla De Lira. “Lots of diverse foods. Now there are sections and portion sizes.
They include nutrition information, which I really like. It’s really practical.”
The food isn’t the only thing that’s changing on campus. Trombetta said that Sodexo plans on forming a student board of directors at CLU. The board will communicate with Sodexo about students’ preferences on campus. The goal of the board will be to find out what the students really want. Sodexo would then do their best to fulfill the requests.
Students should watch for changes with the Centrum and Mogen Mart, as well. Trombetta said that there are a lot of possibilities for both places and is hoping to bring something really exciting to campus.
Also, the Caf will be hosting themed events at least once a month. Such events include a Bollywood night and something for Valentine’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day.
“[We] want to make [the experience] more interesting and more fun,” said Trombetta. “To make someone’s life better, that’s really what we’re all about.”
Published Feb. 13, 2013