QU Dining staff responds to student petition against Chartwells

Olivia Schueller

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The Student Government Association held a town hall meeting in partnership with QU Dining to have an open conversation with students to hear about their dining concerns and frustrations.

QU Dining town hall meeting hosted by the Student Government Association

The three largest concerns were training of staff and chefs, customer service and the pricing of food. 

“What way do you guys source the food?” one student asked. “Like the food does not look fresh at all.” 

Chef Joe Labombarda took the first question from the meeting. 

“Products we source as much as we can locally…We source our vendor partners throughout the country, using a very strict assurance program,” Labombarda said.

Every facility that QU Dining purchases from goes through an inspection and are USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certified. 

“You spoke about USDA certification for food and that’s kind of the bare minimum when you’re looking at a school with a very high population of student athletes,” one student said. “You couldn’t serve in good conscious food that isn’t USDA certified.” 

Vegetables at the salad bar

Labombarda disagreed with the student saying he sees the USDA certification more as a gold star and as a way to keep students safe and healthy.

Some fruits and vegetables are pre cut, but Lambombarda assured students nothing comes from jars or cans.

“Broccoli and lettuce come from the ground,” Labombarda said. “There are critters in the ground so we buy products that are triple washed from the facility.” 

Once the products get to Quinnipiac, they’re washed and inspected again, but based on the quality provided, students feel like they’re paying too much for food. 

QU Dining announced at the town hall meeting that they’re launching food specials in the next few weeks. 

“We’re going to launch something called “The Big Deal,” Sr. Regional Marketing Director of Northeast Division Carly Nappi said. “It’s going to be meal deals for $3, $5 and $8.” 

The meal deals will be packaged together and found on all three campuses. 

Students are also looking for healthier options and more of a variety. Earlier this semester, QU Dining added a vegan station and an acai bowl station, but for students looking for more options, QU Dining members ask that students text 203-889-9120.

Students didn’t just bring up food. They also brought up environmentally friendly utensils. 

“We’re always looking at better ways to be more sustainable,” Chuck Couture, Regional District Manager of QU Dining, said.

Customer service and the behavior of staff was another point students brought up at the meeting. 

“Everyday we have what’s called learning service meetings,” Couture said. “We go over points of service and everything.” 

Toward the end of the meeting, QU Dining brought something new to students’ attention. 

Next semester, students can order ahead of time using an app called, “Boost.” This will allow students to skip the line when ordering from Au Bon Pain or Starbucks.

Last week a student was served raw chicken. After the picture was posted on @qubarstool, a petition was made by a student on change.org. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Fresh and straight out of the package! Chartwells pumping out raw chicken like clockwork

A post shared by Barstool Quinnipiac (@qubarstool) on

The petition said, “The food options and quality presented to Quinnipiac students are completely unacceptable and a health hazard. We are here to convince the University to reconsider their contract with Chartwells and improve food quality, safety and prices.” 

After the town hall meeting, some students said change is still unlikely. 

“There’s been the same problems for as long as I’ve been here at least,” sophomore Vincent Colonna said. “Why would anything change now, over one thing?” 

QU Dining promised more transparency with students in the future. 

“Our ask is [to] bring it to our attention,” Couture said.