Major changes in Simpson dining services


Photo by Coby Berg

by Noah Sacco, Staff Writer

Those who refuse to eat at Pfeiffer Dining Hall, or force themselves to search for options off campus, may soon be able to restore their faith in Simpson College’s dining hall.

Simpson is taking major strides in improving dining services for students, mainly at Pfeiffer, Au Bon Pain and Tyler’s Grille.

Some of the improvements at Pfeiffer include a wider variety of food options, easier access to the sandwich station and samples of new meals will be given out at food committee meetings. Also, themed meals around campus activities will be prepared.

Social media will be picking up with voting for themed meals or specials, and the Bite app will show all meals offered in Pfeiffer for the day.

At the forefront of these changes is Julia Crady, the general manager of Simpson Dining Services. In addition to revamping the food culture at Simpson, Crady is looking to use biodegradable utensils and throw monthly birthday parties for students based around a central theme.

Julia has been adamant on improving quality for all dining services. She is not afraid to confront issues or reach out to students continuously for their opinions, and I believe she is the perfect person for the position she’s been put in,” senior Student Government Association member Jacob Becker said.

Food options in the Kent Campus Center seem to be moving in the same direction.

Tyler’s Grille has added more options to its grab-and-go store—specifically healthier food choices and personal hygiene products for students in a rush.

Panera recently bought the Au Bon Pain franchise, but everything at Simpson will remain under the ABP name. Yet, much of the food will be the same as what students would find at a Panera restaurant. There has also been no discussion of a spike in prices as a result of the switch.

“Panera is starting to replace parts of the menu in ABP which is why we sometimes see shifts in the soup and sandwich options. These changes are happening gradually and we will eventually have a full Panera menu,” sophomore SGA senator Mackenzie Ritscher said.

These changes in Kent should be completed around spring break but are slowly implemented as stock runs out and new shipments are made.

Junior Erik Knouse, a member of the Food Committee, discussed the timetable of when students should expect changes in Pfeiffer to come to fruition.

“Changes like these can take time, but Julia and the rest of the Sodexo employees are doing great work to improve our dining experience. The Food Committee works closely with Luke Behaunek and the Sodexo staff to voice student opinions about campus dining,” Knouse said.

Students are encouraged to fill out comment cards located in Pfeiffer or contact SGA and Food Committee members if they have any comments or concerns regarding their eating experience.

“I have personally noticed a huge improvement in food quality, employee attitude, knowledge and satisfaction of students this semester compared to years past,” Becker said. “There have been a few major changes but a lot of minor ones that really make the experience more enjoyable.”

Students can download Bite app to see all the meals offered for the day in Pfeiffer Dining Hall.