Dining has made changes to on-campus services and announced plans for new facilities in the near future
Sodexo made numerous changes to Liberty University’s on-campus dining throughout the summer of 2013 and announced numerous changes planned for the future.
“One of the biggest changes is that we have completely redesigned the menu at Doc’s Diner so that it has a different type of service as well as a different menu,” Lori Madden, district manager for Sodexo, said.
Doc’s Diner has abandoned waited table service in favor of a faster-paced system in which students use their meal swipe cards to pick up a meal and choose their own seat. Madden revealed that changes at Doc’s Diner were the result of feedback from student focus groups who wanted faster and more convenient dining.
“The restaurant-styled service really took a lot longer, and the wait times were pretty excessive,” Madden said. “We are now able to get students in and out quicker and also entice them to stay on campus, as opposed to having to go off campus or across the street to Reber.”
Madden stated that the Hangar will not be reopened after closing due to construction of The Jerry Falwell Library. The library will include several new dining options including a Pizza Hut Express, a fully licensed Starbucks cafe, a Tsunami Sushi and a Brioche Dorée, a French bakery and cafe.
“We feel like we are selecting the type of food service and products that this demographic responds well to,” Madden said. “I feel that the students will respond very positively because we have actively engaged those students and have gotten feedback.”
According to Cheryl Wolff, general manager of Sodexo, student input also played a large role in the creation of many late-night dining options. The Bistro, Doc’s Diner and Dunkin’ Donuts stay open until 11:30 p.m., while Sub Connection at the Tilley Student Center will stay open until 11 p.m.
“The students love the (late-night) concept, and they love that it’s to-go,” Wolf said. “And again, that was a direct result from what the students are telling us in our surveys and focus groups. They want more options.”
Madden and Wolff also revealed that a Jamba Juice and a convenience store component are currently under construction at the East Campus Clubhouse. Though a specific date has not been set, they said the store will open at some point during the fall 2013 semester.
“The way that (students) travel by going past the clubhouse and through the tunnel makes it convenient for them to come by there and get a smoothie or a breakfast sandwich on the way to convocation,” Madden said. “So it’s really responding to the students’ needs to be mobile, to have grab-and-go food and have
Madden said Sodexo is striving to make dining convenient for athletes on Campus East with strict diets.
“We will be able to offer some additional packaged meals that would meet their nutritional requirements if they can purchase from the convenient store with a meal swipe,” Madden said.
Wolf also mentioned that Sodexo is working hard to provide healthier foods. Another new dining option for those seeking nutritional diets is the vegetarian station at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. According to Wolff, the station will be very helpful for students who require gluten-free diets.
“We’ve looked and made sure that every station has good, healthy options that students can go to,” Wolff said. “That menu is always looked at very closely on an ongoing basis.”
Wolff said Sodexo hopes to continue to provide changes to its dining services when needed.