Samford Dining Services recently announced changes to its offerings, including retail hour updates and the addition of a new food truck.
Richard Davis, General Manager of Samford Dining Services, expressed excitement about these changes which he says are in response to student feedback.
O’Henry’s Coffee will now be open four hours later Monday through Thursday, and Flat Burger will be open as late as 10 p.m. on weekdays.
“We wanted to make sure there was a late night dining option,” Davis said. “The last thing we want is anyone on campus going hungry.”
In addition, a new Einstein Bros Bagels food truck will make its debut at the inaugural ball. After the event, Dining Services plans to experiment by parking the truck at various locations to determine how it can be used most effectively. One suggestion is to park it over in West Campus during the mornings.
“Imagine if you live in one of those dorms and you now come out at seven o’clock in the morning and instead of having to go to the Caf or Chick-fil-a or something for breakfast, it’s right there in front of you,” Davis said.
Another possibility is parking the food truck near the College of Health Sciences during lunch hours to mitigate the line at Freshens. Dining Services will rely on student feedback to determine when and where the Einstein’s truck will be available.
“We love hearing from students,” Davis said. “I’d much rather you tell me what you want than us try and sit around and guess at it.”
A continuing challenge for Dining Services is a shortage of staff, especially on nights and weekends.
“I would love to have student employees,” Davis said. “Academics are a strong focus for this university. It makes working more difficult. We certainly understand that, but for students who want to work, I guarantee you, we will pay you better than you will make anywhere off campus, we will feed you well, and no one is going to be more understanding about your class schedule and when you need to be off.”
Davis added that students interested in working for Dining Services can visit their office in the University Center.
Another difficulty is supply chain shortages, which make it more challenging to accommodate allergies due to ingredient substitutions.
“The issue that supply chain creates with that is our recipes are built off an order guide,” Davis explained. “Well now all of a sudden, Sisco substitutes an ingredient because they don’t have the one that we expect, we have to go in now and read everything that’s in there and make sure it’s not containing an allergen that our original product didn’t.”
Davis said Cafeteria workers remain diligent in ensuring that allergy needs are met in spite of these challenges. All cooks working in the Simple Servings station are required to be allergen trained, and a separate section of the kitchen is allocated for food preparation to ensure there is no cross contamination.
Supply chain problems have also impacted retail locations.
“Waffle fries in Chick-fil-A are about equivalent to gold right now,” Davis joked.
Davis encourages students to continue to provide feedback, so Dining Services can satisfy student needs.