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Chartwells improves Quality, variety of food

After a student wrote a column panning Chartwells’ food and service, Dining Services, the department that oversees the food service company, moved to make some changes in the student menu.
The same day the column was published, Jan. 25, Leland Rapport, Chartwells’ resident district manager, alerted Mel Tenen, director of auxiliary services about the criticisms.
“We want to stress that this didn’t happen simply because of the column,” Tenen said.
“We respond to any specific criticism that we receive. There is such a level of pride here.”
The column, penned by Hurricane staff columnist Amanda Hoyos, listed five specific gripes: cold pasta, poor quality eggs, lack of fresh fruit, bitter coffee and an unpleasant stench billowing from the kitchen of the cafeteria of the Mahoney and Pearson Residence Halls.
“Most of what I said were opinions of my friends; a lot of people,” Hoyos said.
Five days after the column was published, Tenen phoned Hoyos to invite her to his office to discuss the issues.
“The students, our guests, help us best by informing us of their specific needs,” Tenen said.
“We want to exceed the expectations of the students [at the University of Miami],” said Tenen. “And one way to do that is to respond quickly.”
Soon after new samples of eggs and coffee were ordered and the source of the foul odor uncovered and eliminated.
The smell was coming from a drain inside of a wall that had been overlooked during remodeling at the dorms. The wall had begun to mold, Rapport said.
“By that afternoon, it was cleaned, bleached and repaired,” he said.
On the following Monday and Tuesday, the new samples of eggs and coffee were taste-tested and better products were introduced.
“The problem with the eggs was that, for health reasons, they have to be pasteurized,” Hoyos said. “But they found a variety that tastes better now.”
After the taste-testing, the new eggs were ordered and began to be offered on Feb 5.
Likewise, after the coffee taste-tests, a new Ritazza variety was ordered.
“I have tasted the coffee,” Hoyos said. “It’s better-not as muddy and sick and disgusting as it was.”
The staff at Chartwells was also re-trained by Ritazza on how to clean out the coffee machines in order to assure the better flavor, Hoyos said.
Amongst the coffee, eggs and odor fixes, the staff at Chartwells was also advised to cook smaller portions of pasta and to refill it more frequently to ensure warmer pasta, Rapport said.
Fresh fruit orders were shored up as well to ensure that there would be four choices from which to choose from for breakfast, rather than the usual two, Rapport said.
“To give us that specific direction,” said Rapport, “[student feedback]is the best form of feedback.”
Tenen and Rapport both urged students to fill out the comment cards in the dining halls if they have any further complaints or feedback and they will be addressed quickly and efficiently.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Hoyos said.
“It has a happy ending because administration cares,” Tenen said.

February 8, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.