Pfeiffer continues improvements to satisfy diners

by Shara Tibken

Face it. Everyone on campus eats at Pfeiffer at least one timeor another during his or her Simpson career. Although some peoplecomplain about the cafeteria food, the staff at Pfeiffer isconstantly seeking to make the food better.

The employees of Pfeiffer make it their goal to constantlyimprove the dining experience of the students. In order toaccomplish this, a food committee has been set up to provideinformation and opinions of the students to food serviceworkers.

This committee, which meets the second and fourth Wednesday ofevery month, is an extension of the Residence Hall Association.Freshman Eric Bruce, vice-president of RHA, is the chair of thefood committee.

“We bring concerns of students and faculty to people who runPfeiffer to find solutions to satisfy both parties,” saidBruce.

“Lots of times there are requests,” said Vince LoVan, foodservice general manager. “It’s a way of getting some feedback ofhow we’re doing overall for providing service to students.”

Although the meetings don’t draw a large crowd, Bruce said theRHA gets a lot of e-mails regarding likes and dislikes of Simpson’sfood service. Bruce presents concerns to LoVan and other members ofthe Pfeiffer staff.

“The group this year is very productive,” said LoVan. “It reallyrepresents the majority.”

The committee is designed to express complaints to Pfeifferemployees and also give advice about recommended changes.

“It takes time to make changes because it takes suggestions andcompromise to create a win-win situation,” said LoVan.

Whether or not the changes can actually be honored is “based onfeasibility and how the facility allows us to make changes,” saidLoVan. Some changes suggested by the food committee have alreadybeen implemented this year. Pfeiffer made a pasta bar available tothe students after a suggestion by the committee, and the saladdressings are now labeled.

The committee has many plans for ways to improve the dining atPfeiffer. According to Bruce, the committee is focusing on updatingthe wellness program for people with special dining needs.

Agreeing with the need for an improved health food section ofPfeiffer, LoVan suggested a new program for vegetarian students andthe possibility of having soup to go.

To gain more perspective, Bruce conducted a survey regarding thefood at Pfeiffer, questioning 238 people from the residencehalls.

Bruce said the results of the survey showed that thosequestioned felt Pfeiffer is on the right track but needs to makemore of an effort to improve. One-hundred percent of the peoplesurveyed believed that the salad bar is an area that requireslarger selection. Common requests included different types oflettuce and fresh fruit selection on the salad bar.

Pfeiffer currently offers apples, oranges and bananas in thedining area and usually has some sort of fruit on the saladbar.

Those surveyed agreed unanimously about the convenience PfeifferExpress offers. This program, which was implemented for the firsttime this school year, has been a big hit with students who wish toeat in a hurry Monday through Thursday.

At the meeting on Nov. 19, the food committee discussed addingthe Express on Fridays.

In order to further improve dining for Simpson students, Sodexhoconducted its own survey of the students dining at Pfeiffer. Thissurvey, which is conducted yearly in the fall, is used to determinewhich things Pfeiffer is doing well and which things need to beimproved.

“We run it around October so we have time to react and work onthe areas that need to be improved,” said LoVan. The survey is sentto an outside source to compile the results so the statistics arefair.

This year, 230 students from all grade levels were surveyed.Most of the students, 46 percent, were first year students. Secondyear students made up 21 percent of those surveyed, and third andfourth year students both made up 13 percent of the total numbersurveyed. Three percent of those surveyed were fifth year students,and less than five percent of the total number surveyed was facultyand staff members.

A vast majority of those surveyed, 96 percent, live on campus,and the ratio of males to females was split fairly evenly, with 41percent being male, and 59 percent female.

The survey showed that most students were satisfied with the waythat Pfeiffer runs the dining area.

Some students, 36 percent, were highly satisfied with Pfeiffer,which is up two percent from last year. Those who were moderatelysatisfied made up the largest percentage of 59 percent, up fourpercent from last year. Only five percent of the students weredissatisfied this year, compared with 11 percent last year.

This survey also showed which three attributes had the largestincreases from the survey last year. The largest increase was thatof the speed of service. Last year, only 40 percent of the studentsbelieved Pfeiffer was a quick way to get lunch, while 65 percent ofstudents believe that it is speedy this year. LoVan attributes thisdifference to changes made in Pfeiffer this year.

“We changed the cashier service, added staff and added theExpress,” he said.

Other areas of increased satisfaction dealt with the freshnessof food and customer service attitudes.

The survey also showed the areas with the largest decrease ofsatisfaction since the last survey period. Satisfaction regardingthe quantity of food relative to price dropped from 61 to 55percent.

Other areas of decrease include visibility of menu informationand the cleanliness of the dining room.

“We are mainly going to focus on the three areas that had thelargest decrease and need to improve,” LoVan said.