June 20, 2024

The State of the School Cafeteria

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, our school cafeteria’s quality has gotten worse and worse each semester. Before Covid, the grill was open almost all day alongside the cafe. When Covid hit, tons of staff members quit working in the Dining Services.

Note: I’d like to preface this article by saying this isn’t an attack on any of the cafe employees, it’s just a criticism of management. The Cafe staff are some of the nicest and hardest working people on this campus, we appreciate all the work you guys do.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, our school cafeteria’s quality has gotten worse and worse each semester. Before Covid, the grill was open almost all day alongside the cafe. When Covid hit, tons of staff members quit working in the Dining Services. They had to close the grill so they could run the cafe, and vice versa. It makes sense why they did that.

So why have Covid restrictions stuck around when the virus has more or less run its course?

Not having enough workers after the pandemic is a good enough reason for things not to go back to how they were, but it’s been almost three years now. It’s almost like Dining Services kept Covid restrictions for as long as they did just to see what they could get away with. Somehow, it’s only gotten worse since they started with Covid. 

About half way through fall semester 2022, the cafe switched to making only a single meal per day. They provided no explanation, only that it was happening. Additionally, it feels like the portions are getting smaller and smaller with every meal they cook. Most students are forced to swipe twice to feed themselves for any given meal, which is absolutely ridiculous.

An individual lunch or dinner swipe already costs $9.95, which means some students are paying almost 20 dollars to eat some of their meals. You can get a large meal at McDonalds for roughly nine dollars even less, if you’re taking advantage of their mobile app deals. Even if your total at McDonalds amounts to a little more than what you’d spend on a single swipe in the cafe, at least you know you’ll be full.

It’s always a coin flip when it comes to the cafe. Is the food going to be good? Am I going to need to swipe twice to eat enough?

You shouldn’t be getting less at the Cafe than you can get at McDonalds. Again there’s been no explanation as to why portions are getting smaller, which leaves only the assumption that the cafe is being lazy or exploiting students.

With decreasing portions has also come decreasing quality. The other week, the cafe made “buffalo Mac and cheese.” A mac and cheese meal mixed with orange buffalo sauce, with chunks of chicken thrown in it. For lunch, and dinner. That was it. From students’ point of view, it seems like the staff are just doing whatever’s cheapest and fastest.

$9.95 for what students could buy for cheaper at Walmart.

Staff have stated that there’s been a shortage of workers in the past, but that’s hardly a reason for why we’re getting fed less. Or why the food is so much worse than it was two semesters ago. However, the fact that they’re barely paid minimum wage for how hard they work is an issue for another time. It probably has anything to do with why no one wants to work their assess off in the cafe. Absolutely nothing at all.

With those criticisms about the cafe in mind, I’d like to once again say that the workers are doing the best they can. Every time I visit the cafe, they’re extremely polite and are always laughing and joking around with each other. The food at the grill is also amazing too, but the grill isn’t without its faults either.