Chartwells funded a full remodeling project for the cafeteria in the Frick Center over the summer, culminating in its official reveal on Aug. 29.
The new construction incorporates an expanded food variety across the board. This includes Coke Freestyle fountain machines offering 72 flavor assortments, a hummus bar, and a Frozen Yogurt Bar. New charging stations with plugs and USB ports were installed on the pillars located in the dining room.
Steven Goodwin, director of dining services for Chartwells at Elmhurst, openly spoke about the funding of this project, stressing that it was exclusively Chartwells funded.
“Chartwells funded this renovation 100 percent. I think the college wanted to make sure that message was conveyed very clearly,” he said. “This is not something that the college paid for, this is an expense that Chartwells took on because we are the food service provider. Of course we want to present our food in the best way possible; so why not renovate this space?”
He also went on to explain the health reasons that contributed to the decision to proceed with the renovations.
“The reason why it was expanded was because there was a health inspection required where they required us to raise the gaurds higher to protect the food from cross contamination from the consumer side,” he said. “They wanted to prevent projecting something into it, shield it away from anything that may possibly drop or anything like that. Basically it was from a food safety standpoint.”
The reaction to the new cafeteria from students has been mostly positive, though not without some complaint. EC junior Molly Willihnganz shared her thoughts on the appearance of the new cafe as well as its functionality.
“It all appeals to the eyes and I’m sure it may help attract future students. However, during really busy times of the day, around the lunch hour for example, it gets really busy and the lines start to get backed up,” she said. “I also think there should be a better system in place for picking up your eating utensils. They are off to the sides and it can be really confusing for new and regulars to remember to get them.”
Chartwells employee Esmeralda Teutonico acknowledged the complaints amidst the students’ excitement for the cafe’s changes.
“By word of mouth I’ve heard many students express enthusiasm and excitement about the new products, new pop machines, and other changes,” she said. “But I have also heard a lot of students complain about the congestion buildup during the day, like when lots of classes end around the same time.”
Despite the complaints, Teutonic emphasized the practicality of the cafe’s new layout.
“We’re still trying to get students to utilize the side doors, because they were built for the purpose of creating different lanes of traffic,” Teutonico added. “The doors on the sides are supposed to be the entrances into the food areas and the register area is technically the exit. I think the congestion and heavy traffic at any time of day could be diminished.”
With the addition of the new cafeteria, Goodwin also shared information about new services that Chartwells will be implementing in the near future.
“We have some voluntary meal plans that are coming in mid to late September for commuter students,” Goodwin said. “Let’s call them convenience plans. They’re going to be targeted towards commuters, faculty, staff and also as add ons for residents. We’re going to be offering a 10 percent bonus for any add-ons or purchases with those plans.”
After the renovation of the cafeteria area, but the notable lack of change to the other dining areas on campus, Goodwin tentatively announced future renovations to the Roost.
“The Roost will be renovated at a later date, it’s a future project that’s coming,” he said.