As I’m sure we’ve all noticed, the quality of the cafeteria has gone down. The selection has decreased, and if there is still food left in the serving pans it turns out to be hastily made. Certainly, this isn’t something we want, nor should we get used to. The cafeteria is the only place to get food for most students, and yet we’re highly unsatisfied with what is given to us. As a student, I’m disappointed in how some of the most basic of dishes seem to be undercooked (here’s looking at the rice). As a worker for Dining Services, I can’t apologize enough to the student body.
It’s not easy being a worker back behind the serving lines. I used to have fun with my job before Bon Appétit, but now it’s been much tougher. I’m constantly forced to rush around to refill serving pans, clean the counters, put out dishes and much more. It’s ridiculous. My co-workers feel the same way as I do about how tiring and unfulfilling the job has become. Under just a few new rules implemented in Winter Term, the cafeteria workers are suddenly left far behind and unable to meet the needs of us student diners. Cooks are forced to serve poorly-prepared food while fruit baskets and the salad bar are left empty because workers can no longer find the time under new responsibilities for catering. We’re run ragged trying to keep food out for students and also complete the other tasks on our eternal to-do lists. But how can we change the system?
We’ve tried before to get the attention of the new company, Bon Appétit. We’ve written in their comment cards about the quality and variety of food, we’ve talked to workers to notify them of complaints and even the workers call out how ridiculous the new systems are (to list a few: tiny serving pans, useless labels, basket napkin holders. Really? You don’t think someone could just spill water and waste 50 napkins, Bon Appétit?) And yet, the quality of service gets lower, and the amount of stress grows larger.
But, we can’t have anything changed if we all just hunker down and grumble into our dishes. It’s disheartening to know that any complaints we write for Bon Appétit seem to never appear on the comment board, nor do any of the complaints seem to actually be addressed, but we have to keep them coming. If we keep quiet, as we are now, they’ll think everyone is accepting how the cafeteria is run. We need to be notifying the higher-ups that we aren’t satisfied with the quality of the food. Maybe then, they’ll be convinced to change something. We attacked them before which caused them to shut down anything we had to say, but this time we need to offer criticism and alternatives instead of “the food sucked today.” Yelling vague complaints won’t get us anywhere, as we have already seen. We need to be more helpful in what we say to Bon Appétit.
It would also be great if students were also helpful to the workers as well. During my work shifts, I’m greeted with spilled food on all the counters and plates that are just left lying around. People even decide to leave their dirty dishes instead of bringing them to the conveyor belt. It makes the cafeteria look awful and puts more work on the already strained workers. We don’t have to present ourselves as some disorganized student body who complain about the mess that we’re causing. Let’s be helpful, to both the workers and to Bon Appétit. Cleaning up after ourselves, asking for refills with respect and offering constructive criticism to Knox Dining Service is something I’m sure this college is capable of doing, and we can finally have some better food in the cafeteria.