UDS survey reveals food satisfaction

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UIndy Dining Services sent out a campus-wide email inviting faculty, staff and students to participate in a survey about the Dining Services on Jan. 20. The survey featured questions over what people enjoy, what can be improved and how UDS can increase satisfaction. The survey yielded data from approximately 526 students, 53 faculty and 69 staff.

Vice President for Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli helped create the survey and sent it out. Vitangeli said that the questions were based on other surveys used around the nation.

Graphic by Kyle Dunbar

“We looked at some national surveys of just food service at different colleges and universities and [had] just taken some questions from there,” Vitangeli said. “These questions are pretty similar to what colleges and universities ask just in terms of gauging food service satisfaction.”

The survey asked many open-ended questions, such as likes and dislikes about  UDS and how UDS can increase satisfaction. One of the common responses among all three categories was about fresh fruits and vegetables. Most people who took the survey said that they enjoy the fresh fruits but also wish there was more of a selection to choose from.

Executive Chef and Director of Food Service Operations Sean Emrick employs several different techniques to ensure freshness and quality of food.

“We have temperatures that are taken at the time of preparation, at the beginning of service and then throughout service. Each station has a log, and they [staff members] log that information,” Emrick said. “Plus, we recently had all our line leads and cooks ServSafe certified. That’s a program that teaches everything to do with food handling.”

Among the most popular food choices at UIndy are the chicken breast, specifically the grilled chicken. Emrick received feedback in regard to the chicken, that caused a change in presentation.

“We go through approximately 20 cases­—200 to 250 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast—a day,” Emrick said. “This school year, some of the feedback I received about the grilled chicken was that they [the consumers] have butter knives, and the chicken was hard to cut up. So that’s why we went to having the diced [chicken] for everyone, too.”

Vitangeli said that the feedback from the survey will help to gauge what needs to be improved, and changes will continue to be made based on the feedback.

“We already have, since the beginning of the semester, started looking at them [the issues], and they [staff members] have been doing a really good job of labeling and trying to change up the free zone,” Vitangeli said. “We’ve added gluten free breads to the grill areas, so that people can eat in those areas.
And [we are] just looking and making sure that we are changing up and looking at presentation.”

Despite all of the things that people wish to see improved, Vitangeli is happy with the survey results and wants to continue improvements.

“What made me feel good is that these are all issues we have looked at—both the dining services and the university—and that we are constantly striving to improve them,” Vitangeli said. “Our goal is to continue to improve satisfaction, because we want people to enjoy eating on campus.”

Emrick said that he loves what he does and is always open to feedback.

“I just want the students to know that UDS takes a lot of pride in what we do and that we are here to serve the students,” he said. “I have an open-door policy. I love what I do, and I want to make sure that we are giving the students everything that they want and enjoy and a good variety.”

Vitangeli said she also appreciates the feedback and wants students to feel comfortable eating around campus.

“I’m open to feedback at any time,” she said. “I would love to hear from more people who didn’t get a chance to fill out the survey.”

Vitangeli said that another survey will be sent out at the end of the semester, and she hopes to continue to send out surveys every coming semester.

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