by Caitlyn Starkey
Whitworth is one of eight colleges serviced by Sodexo that is testing a new preview menu. The dining hall is testing a two week menu twice in four weeks.
After four weeks, the dining hall menu will become a hybrid of the old and new menu. That hybrid will add back in Whitworth favorites such as French Dip Fridays and breakfast sandwiches on Wednesday. General manager of Sodexo Jim O’Brien said Sodexo hopes to start the new menu nationwide this fall.
“It’s really a test situation to see if in fact these menus would be something they could roll out nationally next fall,” O’Brien said.
The number of dishes offered will decrease a little bit in order to increase quality, O’Brien said.
“The general concept is instead of offering, let’s say on the grill, a hamburger, a cheeseburger, grilled cheese, French fries every day, offer one really good thing,” O’Brien said.
The new menu also has a stronger focus on vegetarian options.
“[Sodexo] is trying to increase both variety and healthy options that they have in the menus,” O’Brien said.
To gain feedback on what students did and did not like, surveys will be offered at the end of each meal asking what food a student ate and what they thought of it. That information will give Sodexo a better sense of how to improve the menu before rolling it out nationwide.
So far it seems students appear to enjoy the change.
“In general, it’s kind of exciting,” junior Brandi McFerran said. “I haven’t really gotten used to it. It’s pleasantly surprising.”
The new menu items have appeared to be healthier, McFerran said, which she appreciates.
“It’s not all onions,” senior Jeremy White said with a laugh.
White said he would like to see some consistency within a meal, for example having scrambled eggs at breakfast.
Junior Matthew Rediger has liked the focus on one high quality menu item per dining option.
“I appreciate more grill options, instead of the same three pizza options,” he said.
The change in food options is taking some getting used to for some students.
“I am very much a creature of habit but it’s been a nice change,” senior Jordan Kingma said. “I really only notice at lunch. Lunch is better. I haven’t really noticed at dinner. It’s still a starch, grilled or steamed vegetable and a meat.”
Contact Caitlyn Starkey at firstname.lastname@example.org.