This semester, the management of Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall has implemented several major changes to their dining options and vendor selections with the aim of creating a lasting change in Georgetown’s student dining experience.
The changes instituted this semester came largely from student feedback from a variety of social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, the Food Service Committee played a role in suggesting improvements to the O’Donovan’s staff. “We focused on taking the feedback we received via Facebook pages and one-on-one interactions,” said Craig Cassey Jr. (COL’15), a student member of the committee.
This semester will see the reintroduction of a permanent burrito stand as well as a permanent station that offers options made exclusively with ingredients from local vendors. In addition, the dining hall plans to incorporate more fresh, local produce into its normal menu rotation.
However, despite its efforts to cater to the preferences of as many students as possible, Georgetown Dining faces the challenge of balancing the provision of “market-style” dining options while keeping meal plans affordable for students.
Signage and nutrition information proved to be the main concerns voiced by students and a major focus for Leo’s staff. “Students would feel like they were going up to something and not know what they were eating, so they really wanted the signage piece,” said Debby Morey, Associate Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Leo’s.
Leo’s has added clear signs offering nutrition information to all stations and has installed an interactive Nutrition Corner on the the lower level, which links to online menus and offers nutrition breakdowns, as well as supplemental information from the staff dietician, Allison Marco.
Marco will seek to engage the student population and cater to their needs by offering personalized nutrition counseling. Marco will also be a key part of Georgetown Dining’s efforts to engage students in residence halls with nutrition-based programing.
“The dietician piece was a big piece for the students. We wanted to make sure that students knew there was a dietician on the premises, a nutritionist that can help guide you if you need that help,” Morey said.
In addition, Morey explained that Campus Dining’s increased emphasis on the total welfare of the student plays out as a part of Aramark’s efforts to improve student experiences. Aramark has dubbed this year a “Wow” Year of Service in order to demonstrate Georgetown Dining’s renewed effort to improve the customer service experience. “We want people to feel good when they come in, not just at this location, but at the bookstore, Epicurean, or wherever they are going. We want it to be a positive experience,” Morey said.
Morey expressed optimism looking forward to the coming months. “We are really focusing on customer service and making sure our staff is educating students on what they’re eating and where it’s coming from. Giving that ‘wow’ service is something that I expect this year, and I think we’re on the right track.”
The Food Service Committee echoed Moore’s sentiments. “We desire, we strive to offer the best food possible,” Cassey said. “We want you to feel that this is not just any run-of the mill cafeteria, that this definitely is a part of Georgetown that you want to come to.”