Montgoris’ poor service fall into new Sodexho doubts

Montgoris’ recent service raises the question in residents’ minds whether the frustrating inconsistency of Sodexho or the staid service of Aramark was better.

As the new food service provider, Sodexho has reached all time highs and lows in St. John’s dining, especially within the last two weeks.

The week of Oct. 9 saw students eating off of Styrofoam trays and plastic utensils.

This made the dining hall experience all that more cafeteria-like. As this is resident student’s home away from home, eating mass-produced food instead of home-cooked meals can be a strange transition. When the food is eaten off of disposable tableware, it becomes a lost cause.

As the weather gets colder and the nights get shorter, the unsatisfactory service of Montgoris becomes harder to deal with.

Another concern that arose last week was Sodexho employees’ rejection of the “all-you-can-eat” rule of the dining hall. As students asked for more then one entree on their plates, some were refused, a confusing defiance to a Montgoris staple.

“Montgoris is supposed to be an all-you-can-eat dining hall, however recently when I ask for a second helping of a main entree I was denied it,” Christine Arena, a sophomore, said.

Once I was told to get back in line if I wanted more, but when I did so they said I had to finish what they gave me first. Four thousand dollars a year and I can’t get two bite-sized pieces of fish at one time?”

Many of last year’s student complaints were because of a lack of variety.

It grew tiresome to eat the same food everyday, and complaints were wide-spread enough for the school to change providers.

Nevertheless, some students now are realizing the bland consistency of Aramark could sometimes prove more agreeable than the inconsistency many relate to Sodexho.

“I become frustrated that there’s no consistency in the service. Sometimes it’s a whole lot better, but a lot of the time it isn’t,” student Lindsay Barhold said.

Interestingly enough, the week of Oct. 9 proved to be drastically different. As surveys wafted through Montgoris Hall, Sodexho conveniently fixed some of the more blatant problems.

Sodexho employed three noticeable changes: the C-Store opened for more hours, the dishwasher was fixed, and a more appealing variety of dining options surfaced.

Nevertheless, there were issues in all of these new “improvements.”

Even though the dishwasher was fixed, immediately following so, trays and tableware had food on them, and appeared dirty.

“One day I went to grab a tray, and there was lettuce stuck to it. It was pretty disgusting,” sophomore Kara Barker said.

The C-Store extended its hours to open at 7 a.m. For most resident students, this is not necessarily convenient.

Some see it as a ploy to get more business from commuters than to actually accommodate resident students, especially because most find Montgoris’ breakfast to be the most tolerable meal in the day.

The better food does not seem to stick around, as Sodexho often runs out of food, and options change a few hours into meal service. This is particularly frustrating, as the meal signs are sometimes misleading as to what is actually being served.

The school has genuinely attempted to better the food service, though the actual dining improvements are sometimes hard to discern.