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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Campus

Feedback shows students happy with new dining


So far, Chartwells has been successful in providing a positive experience for students, according to the majority of responses from the Happy or Not kiosks in the dining halls. | Courtesy of Abel Valencia

Chartwells, UH’s new food service provider, has so far done a good job of re-purposing Aramark’s leftovers, according to several students.

According to the Happy or Not kiosks at the Dining Commons, the feedback on changes has been almost entirely positive, with 93 percent of the 44,967 responses at Moody Towers and 11,957 responses at Cougar Woods approving the features implemented by Chartwells.

The new features include technology that simplifies and quickens the process of eating on campus and new dining options, such as a website, the Boost ordering mobile app and healthier food choices.

“A lot of people want to eat well, or at least want the option to do so,” said creative writing and photography junior Janaya Armstrong. “It makes me feel good knowing that I can go to the dining hall between my classes and get something to nourish my body so I can keep going.”

The Boost app provides online menus, payment methods and information about how long lines are. The Boost app has a camera tracking line information, making it easier for students to order ahead of time, said Chartwells District Manager David Riddle.

“You go on the tracking cam, and if you see a massive line, you may just want to go ahead and order on your mobile app,” Riddle said. “You’re paid up, and it takes Cougar Cash as well, and you just walk to the front of the line.”

English senior Victoria Agnew said that the addition of these online features, especially the app, is helpful.

“The number one reason I skip out on getting food on campus is because of the lines,” Agnew said.

Psychology and biochemistry senior Eden Obomeghie said the changes by Chartwells make everything easier, mostly because of the app and the ability to see how long the lines are beforehand.

“It makes it a little more convenient, so that’s great,” Obomeghie said. 

Chartwells expanded the dining hall menus by supplementing the previous menu with fresher and healthier varieties of food, Riddle said.

“Of course, we still do the burgers and fries and all that stuff, but we tried to make sure we added a lot of fresh vegetables to the menu, so you could have a choice,” Riddle said. 

Along with healthier food options, the Boost app includes nutritional content and the ability to find food tailored to different dietary needs, such as allergies or vegan options.

“On the app, Chartwells links foods to the MyFitnessPal app, so students have the option of tracking calories,” Riddle said.

Chartwells has also rescheduled the Moody Towers dining hall to be open 24/7.

“That was an exciting moment, and we were glad to be the first,” Riddle said. “We’ve added 135 additional service hours across, whether it be food trucks or C-stores.”

Another addition is that students can now switch out dining hall meals with other providers, Riddle said, meaning students can exchange a food swipe with a meal at other vendors in the Student Center, like Panda Express and Chick-fil-A.

Biochemistry junior Sarah Fasanando said the changes have been beneficial to her.

“I think it’s really cool and kind of convenient,” Fasanando said. “I like that Chick-fil-A now has breakfast available, too. That’s really all I’ve noticed, but it’s been nice.”

Each of the residential dining commons has “happy or not” buttons that provide updates to Chartwells on student satisfaction.

“It’s really cool, and it’s hour by hour and 24/7, so we can see how it is at even 2 a.m. from a guest perspective,” Riddle said.

All new meal plan packages and prices are now available on Chartwells’ Dine On Campus website.

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