Nathalie Trow-McDonald |
ST. THOMAS – Last night, Elite Hospitality Management, the company running the St. Thomas campus cafeteria, unveiled their new “Crave Station” and held an informative session lasting from about 7:30-8:00 PM.
“I know it’s already the third week of class, but it is still early enough to welcome you all back,” said Jennifer Palmer-Crawford, Director of Residence Life for the St. Thomas Campus, as she opened the meeting.
The main point of interest for most students was the new Crave Station, open during diner and lunch hours, that serves fresh fruit, yogurt, and four types of sub sandwiches including: tuna, ham, turkey, and vegetable on either white or wheat bread. The Crave Station will not be open during the late-night “snack hours” from 7:00-9:00PM.
Silently, everyone had been wondering for the past three weeks why they were no longer allowed to make their own salads, and now the salads were being prepared to one’s liking and served to the customer.
“Items are now being served from the Salad Bar and Crave Station to reduce contaminants and make sure they have enough to spread around for every paying student,” noted Claudia Prince, Manager of Elite Hospitality Management, curing everyone’s curiosity.
Some students voiced their concern that portions were being controlled too much in comparison to what they were accustomed to in past semesters. They enjoyed larger salads and bigger cup sizes.
“We control portions only in hopes to keep college affordable for everyone,” responded Palmer-Crawford. “We wouldn’t be able to afford college if we were living at the Marriott.”
Students were reminded what constitutes a “meal,” or one swipe of their I.D. from their meal plan. A meal has one main meat or protein item with 2-3 side dishes, one drink with no refills, and a dessert. Patrons are allowed to mix and match items from the various stations, such as chicken fingers from the Burger Bar and a salad from the Salad Bar.
Contamination was a large topic of the evening.
Students with meal plans who have allergies were urged to document this with the on-campus nurse and then to check with cafeteria staff to make sure both departments are aware. Every customer was encouraged to ask the serving staff which ingredients were used in each dish as a precaution to any allergic responses.
To reduce contaminants, especially of allergens, the cafeteria asks patrons who wish to take their leftover food and beverages out of the building to first place them into the dishware provided by the cafeteria and then transfer to their own take-away containers.
Anyone is allowed to come into the cafeteria and eat, but due to the same concerns, commuters are asked not to place their own food into the cafeteria microwave. They were directed to use the microwaves in the Student Activities Center or in the Commuters’ Lounge in the Sports and Fitness Center.
Those who are not on meal plans and do not purchase a meal, will be asked to pay a small fee to receive a beverage from the dining hall or for use of the condiments available.
Recent restrictions upon the student-favorite to-go plates were explained in further detail.
The Styrofoam containers have been replaced with reusable plastic ones and are no longer being offered to students without approval from the Director of Housing due to a scheduling conflict where one’s classes run through the dinner hours. This rule does not apply to commuters, but they have to pay an extra fee to have the container.
The second most recent addition to the array of delicacies presented to customers is the treat of ice cream with an array of optional toppings. During dinner hours, it was noted, ice cream is complimentary with your meal, but it is available for an additional charge at lunch time upon request.
Any club wishing to host a meeting or activity in the cafeteria are welcome, but it necessary to get approval first from the Student Activities office and then from Student Housing before scheduling with the cafeteria staff.
Finally, the senior class of Hospitality and Tourism Management majors were asked to stand and were recognized. The study body was encouraged to approach their fellow classmates at any time with comments about the cafeteria service.
“It’s our second year here and we have really enjoyed serving you,” said Tamara Lang, Director of the Hotel and Tourism Management program within the School of Business and co-owner of Elite Hospitality Management.
Key members of the cafeteria staff were introduced to the group of dining students in hopes to make the diners become acquainted and comfortable with the faces they see almost every day.
“We want your time here to be a memorable experience. We want you to remain informed with our changes. We have an open door policy so feel free to knock or call with any questions,” Prince said with a smile.
The Elite Hospitality Management’s office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00AM to 4:30PM. Someone will be available to answer any further questions or accept any requests or complaints.
“We have worked closely with housing on attracting new students to the university based on the cafeteria,” explained Lang. “That starts with serving you and word of mouth which is why we have an open door policy. Part of our job is to make you want to stay here. We want you to feel good and your stomach be filled.”
Students were also reminded of the dining hall’s hours, which are listed below:
- Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
- Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Dinner: 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Snack Bar: 7:00 a.m. – 10 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
- Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Brunch: 10: a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
During any holiday that the university observes, the dining hall will follow Saturday hours.