Dining Services Addresses Parents’ Concerns

“The ‘grilled’ chicken.”

“The ‘grilled’ chicken.”

Photo posted by Christina Enossas on Facebook.

Photo posted by Christina Enossas on Facebook.

“The ‘grilled’ chicken.”

JOSEPH TUCCI, Feature Editor

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Pace’s Dining Services hosted a webinar in response to the concerns of an online group of students’ parents on September 16.

The Pace University Westchester Family Association, a Facebook group, had been discussing their children’s concerns with the dining services at Pace’s Pleasantville campus. These concerns include the quality and price of food, as well as the hours of the food stations in Kessel Student Center.

One of the things that sparked concern was a photo posted by Christina Enossas on Facebook of what appears to be boiled chicken where grilled chicken is suppose to be. According to director of Dining Services Kevin Henriquez, this issue had nothing to do with the cooking of the chicken itself, but was simply a human error that was corrected shortly.

“That chicken was for the chicken salad. It was busy, and the person ran to the back and grabbed the first thing he saw. When I saw it, I immediately pulled it,” Henriquez said.

According to Henriquez, Dining Services have been working to increase the quality of food by setting higher standards for chefs—which have caused some to quit—, and by bringing in new chefs.

However, not everybody has felt the changes.

“The facilities are new, but the food remains similar, if not identical to my freshman year,” junior Lee Allen said.

There have been concerns with the price of the food as well.

“It’s pretty much the same as last year; overpriced, not so great food. A croissant costs two something [dollars]. Yogurt costs three dollars, and fruit costs a lot, too,” sophomore Jakub Lewandowski said.

Henriquez claims that he has gone through his food invoices line by line, located any overpriced items, and then brought their prices down. According to Henriquez, the food prices have not gone up in a year, and Dining Services is actually losing money on some items, but have yet to raise their prices.

“Because of avian influenza, egg prices are through the roof. We’re taking a hit on them, but you have got to have eggs,” Henriquez said.

Henriquez encourages students who want to save money to use the Inter-Taste option at each station, which offers a complete meal for five dollars.

Issues were also raised about certain food stations not being open on the weekend. Henriquez addressed this by saying the only food stations that are not open on the weekend are Sono [Latin food], Chef’s Table, Sushi, Chinese, and the chopped salad station.

The stations that remain open on the weekend are the grill, pizza and pasta, salad bar, hot food line, deli, grab and go, frozen yogurt, and Ruthie’s Bakery. The pizza station opens at three on the weekends, because, according to Henriquez, students wake up later.

“I don’t think students are really taking the time to look at everything, because we do have a lot of options here. Even on Saturdays and Sundays,” Henriquez said.

One parent questioned why Pace’s meal plan is a la carte, when other schools have successfully used a system where students pay the same flat price for any food item that they buy. Senior Director of Dining Services Tyrone Ellen explained that the schools that utilize those plans have a separate dining area that can only be used by residents and that the food items they provide are generic, instead of name brand.

“One thing that you would definitely not see is a licensed full Boars Head deli on campus. When you look at the meal plan, and you look at the different cafés, retail versus board, there is also a different in the style of food that they are presenting,” Ellen said.

Parents have also been concerned with the accessibility of Dining Services so that they could have their voices heard. According to Henriquez, people can easily reach him—or other managers, who can be identified by their Chartwells name tag and walkie-talkies— on the Kessel cafeteria floor at almost all times or through the Dine On Campus website.

“I have nothing to hide,” Henriquez said.

Henriquez says that Dining Services is always looking to make improvements based on feedback.

“We opened up a Caribbean station this semester based on everyone’s feedback after we put out oxtail on the line last year, and people said ‘Oh this is a great idea, you should do more of this’ so we tried it out, and it was a success,” Henriquez said.

Dining Services is planning to have a day for concerned parents to come to Kessel and eat for free, in order to see what the situation is for themselves.

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