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The Simpsonian

New changes for Simpson’s dining services bring new benefits

by Taia Veren, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — As Simpson students arrived to campus this year, so did many changes and additions to meal options. Pfeiffer Dining Hall, Tyler’s Grille, Au Bon Pain and Millie’s Coffee Shop have all been altered to improve the dining experience at Simpson this year through the help of Sodexo and the Student Government Association.

“In recent years, dining services has lost a tremendous amount of money,” said Mindy Murphy, dining director of Sodexo. “There were some operational changes we had to make in order to make the model work for Sodexo and Simpson.”

Murphy said Simpson has many dining options open for students, which creates some staffing issues. Murphy and Sodexo worked with Simpson to agree on how to create a more effective model which benefits Sodexo and students. Operating hours were shifted to save money on labor, and popular food items were spread to a variety of dining areas to make sure students have what they want, anytime they want.

Simpson College senior Cody Isabel, a senior SGA representative who serves on the food committee, said, “There have been some adjustments in dining services to be more ‘cost effective.’”

ABP, for example, now opens at 9 a.m. instead of 7:15 a.m.

Students can still find ABP’s most popular morning items at Millie’s, which is open at 7:15 a.m.

Isabel said Pfeiffer has also implemented a new grab-and-go station where students can swipe their ID, using boards or flex, and pick up different items. Tyler’s has added a new f’real milkshake, smoothie and frozen cappuccino machine which has been very popular with students.

ABP will be offering different limited time offer board combination meals, changing every two months. All dining services are working to improve better vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options for students.

“Data was analyzed to see how to make the meal plans work better,” Murphy said. “Taking into account food costs and value to students, $4.50 boards just didn’t make sense.”

Murphy hopes the new equivalency of a $7 board will not confuse students, but make the process easier to use and give students more power to spend money how they want.

Isabel admitted he has heard some feedback from students being confused about the new board amount changes. He assured students they are getting a better deal than previous years.

“A board is now $7, opposed to the $4.50 it has been previously. There has been rearranging of prices and combinations to match the new board amount. Students can now use less boards to pay for the same meals,” Isabel said.

“I’m excited they changed the board meal to $7 because it will help me spend my plan more wisely,” said senior Brooklyn Hunter.

Isabel and Murphy have also noticed some students complaining about understaffing in Kent in the mornings. Isabel said this problem will soon be resolved as new staff and student workers are being trained to take on more shifts.

Isabel said there are always positions open to work in the food service if anyone is interested.

Another complaint from students concerns the rise in cost in ABP and Red Mango. Since these dining options are corporations and not Simpson-run, such as Tyler’s, prices cannot be controlled by Simpson.

“If you want a change, you have to do something about it,” Isabel said. He wants students to reach out to him and SGA to make change happen if there are any issues in the dining services to accommodate students with allergies or students who want different options.

“Be mindful of how you are spending,” Murphy cautioned students. “It might take some time to adjust, but be sure to remember boards are worth more now, so don’t waste money by paying a board for something small in order to get the most value out of your plan.”

Isabel encourages students to download the “Bite by Sodexo” app.

“Just sign into Simpson College when you get the app, and then you will see everything on the menu for the whole week,” he said.

Students can also check out what dining options are open on a daily or weekly basis at https://simpsondining.sodexomyway.com/.

“These changes were presented to the food committee by Sodexo, and it made sense for everyone,” Isabel said. “It’s different and might take some time to get used to, but it’s a good change.”

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