By Nicole Lafond
Sodexo made several changes this year in the foods offered, hours of service and payment options in its different locations on campus.
The main dining hall in Ludwig is now offering students a consistent weekly meal option this year; chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese every Friday. The Sodexo corporation wanted to increase student satisfaction and decided to make a weekly meal out of a student favorite.
“Friday lunch is one of the most common meals students eat. We believe this is because of the relaxed class schedule and the fact that it is coming up on the weekend. Friday is usually a feasible day for everyone to come eat, and we didn’t want to leave anyone out,” said Aaron McCray, Executive Chef and Retail Manager of Sodexo.
Students are excited about the consistency of chicken nuggets.
“Having chicken nuggets every Friday is awesome,” sophomore Morgan Lucas said. “They are really good and they make me feel like a kid [again] when I eat them.”
Another change ONU students have encountered this year is that the C-Store no longer accepts Flex Dollars, which is extra money the Sodexo corporation gives out to students each semester to buy meals at their different locations. The C-Store buys its products pre-packaged and pre-priced.
Because of this, Sodexo cannot change the prices of the products offered.
The products tend to be higher priced at this location. As a result, the corporation suffered a loss last year because students were using their Flex Dollars, which come straight from Sodexo, to buy products from the store as opposed to cash or Tiger Dollars.
Some students are frustrated by the change.
“The food options at Olivet are already limited,” sophomore Olivia Smith said. “The fact that we can’t use Flex Dollars at the C-Store is ridiculous. All of the other food locations on campus take Flex Dollars, so [it] should be consistent.”
Because the store no longer accepts Flex Dollars, it has experienced a decrease in sales this year, McCray said. “[The decrease] is good for us because of the loss we experienced last year as a result of surplus.” Because sales have decreased, the C-Store stocks fewer products, which keeps it from having surplus.
McCray said he is working to accommodate students with more options in the C-store since students can no longer pay with Flex Dollars.
“We have added new types of sandwiches such as the five-dollar flatbread and the new gourmet sandwiches. We want to increase our offerings at the C-Store to give students more choices for their money.”
In addition to C-Store changes, the Tiger Den has added four new sandwiches and three different types of grilled cheese to its menu this year.
The Nesbitt “Simply to Go” food service also has different hours this year. The Office of Student Development and Sodexo decided to keep Nesbitt closed until after chapel as well as between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m.
“Between 2 and 4, attendance has been really slow in the past. Also, in the morning, we never had a large rush until after the chapel hours, so that is why we decided to make changes during that time,” McCray said.
A new variety of fries have been added to the Red Room menu choices this year. Instead of just regular fries, steak fries are offered everyday. Also, each month a different type of specialty fries is available to students. These include waffle fries, curly fries and sweet potato fries. The price of package meals and various individual items increased a small amount this year as well, according to student Sodexo employee Tim Phillips.
“The price increase has been due to inflation,” he said.
A few changes have been made to one of the coffee hot spots on campus. Common Grounds is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Advertising within the coffee shop will change slightly as well.
“We will soon have a chalk board style menu which will allow us to write the daily specials on the board,” said Sodexo supervisor Kim Swanson.