The Quest for better food

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Schools can easily form a bad reputation for the food they serve, especially if it is really bad. Over the past several years the University of Indianapolis has started along that path.  However, this semester UIndy has branched out to a new food dining service, Quest Food Management Services.

If you venture into the cafeteria, you will notice a fresh new welcome desk for the dining employees to sit at while swiping in students. Placed a few feet inside the door, the desk helps a great deal with avoiding the long, cluttered lines of students waiting to pay for their meals. However, the placement can be awkward with only a sliver of a walkway for students to pass by. I believe the flow of the cafeteria would be smoother if the desk were moved closer to the wall.

Another change in the cafeteria is the seating arrangement.  Instead of the tables placed in long rows, the seating arrangement creates a more sociable setting. Set in a square format, this arrangement forces students to interact with one another. For many students, this can be either a good or a bad thing. If you tend to eat with a small, intimate group of people, it can be awkward to be at a table of others with whom you are not familiar. However, if you eat with a larger group of people, it can be beneficial, allowing you to hear and socialize better.

I personally tend to eat with only one or two others, and if you have had the pleasure of going to dinner at the busiest time of the day, dinner time, you know how difficult finding a seat for your group can be. Sometimes, you are forced to separate from your group, which defeats the purpose of socializing at dinner.

There are also TVs placed at the front of the food line that display the menu for that day, which can be helpful. However, if you have seriously bad eyesight—as I do—it’s hard to read what the menu says before you pay for your meal. This could be improved if a monitor were placed at or before the welcome desk, so you could see what the cafeteria is serving and decide whether it’s something you want to eat.

Quest Food’s slogan is “Fresh is best,” according to the UIndy website. The company promotes cooking with fresh ingredients, wholesome meals, local products such as locally grown roasted turkey, trans-fat free soy and locally baked bread. Quest Food has an excellent selection for the students, such as the new pizza selection, tacos and the salad bar. I’m not a vegetarian by any means, but the vegetarian-friendly choices have expanded. The salad bar is fully stocked with three types of salad mix, a variety of salad toppings and a range of dressings.

College students’ love for pizza was taken for granted before the change. Before Quest Food, the pizza was worse than a pizza you would get from a convenience store. However, the pizza they now serve has a nice, crispy, thin crust topped with thick, fresh ingredients.

The only problem with the food that I have come across so far is that the heat lamps often dry and overcook the food. I am not entirely sure what the food service people can do to solve the issue other than change out the food more frequently or invest in a way to keep the food fresh longer without overcooking it. Overall, I approve of Quest Food Management Services continuing to serve our school. I look forward to more changes that may come about.

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