The Problems With University Cafeterias
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Student Life

The Problems With University Cafeterias

The dreaded cafeteria that we all try to avoid, but, are forced to spend to much money on to avoid completely.

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The Problems With University Cafeterias
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:All_Vegetarian_Terra-Ve_cafeteria_at_Purchase_College.jpg

I don't think I've had one friend that's said the food at their school was above adequate. And I for one can confirm that my own university has been lacking in the food department. They're trying to update their facilities and use mobile apps for ordering, but when it comes down to it, it's still the food that's the problem.

Cafeterias aren't 'exquisite dining halls' despite the price tag that may cause you to think otherwise. They are made for fast pace food prep and are usually self serve (at my campus they recently took away the self serve option). What universities should be changing is the quality of their food and the meals they are preparing. For the section of the cafeteria that alternates its options, a student survey should be sent out asking what meals the student population want. Sometimes universities try to be trendy and make interesting concoctions in order to use scraps from other meals. They often over use oils and other unhealthy ingredients which can change a hearty vegetable serving into a calorie intense greasy mess. With a student survey, the alternating section of the cafeteria will have meals that students actually desire.

The mobile implementation to the dining of universities could also use some tweaking. At my school, they have a mobile app for the dining hall and a separate app for the other food options on campus. But each station is severely under staffed and can rarely keep up with the incoming orders along with those made online. Not only is this inconvenient for the workers, but if they are unable to keep up with orders, it becomes a hassle for students trying to get a meal in between classes. If a student orders a sandwich at 12:50 p.m. thinking it will be done before their 1:10 class but there is a rush, sometimes they won't get their food in time. Now that student goes to class with an empty stomach and the sandwich never gets eaten creating more food waste. A solution would be to sufficiently staff the food sections so that orders can be made accordingly. An additional employee should be stationed to distribute the online orders while checking to be sure that no one is claiming a meal that isn't theirs.

Another problem is that there are rarely enough options for those with dietary restrictions such as allergies or vegetarians/vegans. Even if their is a special station for this category of students, they often repeat meals because they are unaware of how to diversify and cater towards restricted diets. Quinoa and tofu aren't the only thing vegetarians/vegans eat and it can get old fast if it isn't seasoned correctly. Chefs in these categories should be given a wide variety of recipes for meat/nut/fish/etc. free meals that can be prepared for these students. If students with specific diets are paying for an expensive meal plan, the universities should be making it worth the price.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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