Make your own banana splits, Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast exchange, cooked to order steaks and a taco shop that reminds us all of Chipotle. Is this St. John’s dining or a distant dream that we’ve all been fantasizing over since that first year on campus? Well, it’s safe to say that the latter is no longer the case.
Since Fall 2010, every sophomore, junior and senior has seen extreme changes in the University’s dining plans and meal options.
Montgoris once closed at 10 p.m., then at 8:30, and now back to 10 p.m. during the week. The Red Storm Diner was open all week, it was only opened on the weekends, and now it’s open all week again – only now it’s a Nathan’s chain.
The musty, dim-lit basement known as the Marillac cafeteria, is now a bright new cafeteria that houses a Burger King, a Dunkin Donuts, Mexican and Italian food, and a house kitchen that cooks steak right in front of you. The food court at the D’Angelo Center, once criticized for its lack of health standards, now has its employees equipped with temperature readers they can clip onto their aprons to avoid such problems happening again.
Not only that, you can meal exchange twice at DAC, seven days at the Hungry Johnnie Convenience Store, and at Marillac for dinner. It really sounds too good to be true but this time for St. John’s students, it isn’t.
Students moaned and complained for months about the quality of food, the dining hours that made no sense and the weekend dining options. In January 2011, a plan was made to revamp the dining options and raise the level of satisfaction for on-campus diners.
“We created a road map to success driven by student surveys, meetings with SGI representatives, advice from Student Life and Res Life and all the key stakeholders,” Scott Lemperle, Director of Auxiliary Services, said of the new dining options.
Lemperle, who has had over 25 years experience in the dining services industry, helped Chartwells improve their in-class dining services and continues to strive to be the best for the students. With double digit increases on surveys given to students.“It didn’t happen overnight. This was a comprehensive plan for change and improvements,” Lemperle added.
However, without students speaking up, Chartwells would not know where to start and how to make St. John’s dining the very best it could be. Using a “Food Advisory Committee”, a group of students from SGI, Chartwells learned a lot about the things students wanted to change.
Not part of SGI or unaware of when these advice sessions are held? Not a problem because Chartwells now comes to you. Just follow “StJohnsdining” on Twitter and tweet marketing representative Laura Musa about anything you may like to see added to the cafeterias or anything you would like changed.