Aramark visits Student Government Association

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Aramark visits Student Government Association

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Company officials outline safety procedures, student feedback

The SLU Student Government Association was back in session on Wed, Oct. 22, after Fall Break, and their meeting was centered around a presentation by officials from Aramark – the company that runs SLU’s dining and catering services.

Jeffrey Marshall, the Aramark District Manager; Karl Wolak, the Senior Food Service Director; and Brooke Gordon, Aramark’s Marketing Manager, presented the senators with an update of sorts on Aramark’s first year at SLU. (The company took over operation of SLU’s dining operations from Chartwells in 2014.)

The Aramark trio touched on a variety of issues – namely how students have responded to Aramark, what steps are taken for providing feedback and what new procedures are being implemented to improve service – but their discussion focused mainly on two recent campus incidents: the small blade that was found in a student’s salad in Griesedieck Hall and the power outage that crippled a large segment of campus.

Safety procedures, Wolak stressed, are strictly followed at all dining facilities, but a faulty piece of equipment at Griesedieck caused the blade to be in the salad. The piece of equipment, a chopping device used for slicing tomatoes – along with other tools used by Aramark in the kitchens – will now be subject to daily inspection by Aramark employees.

Wolak also described the efforts the company took after the power outage struck campus on Oct. 5.

“A lot of us on the team, we didn’t sleep,” he said. “We were waiting for, mostly in Griesedieck, what was going to be happening to our food. Fortunately, a generator was attached to Gries in enough time [that] we didn’t lose too much food in Griesedieck.”

Other food that Aramark knew would not survive the outage was donated to charity for immediate use, but some product could not be saved.

“The food that we did have to get rid of…once it’s been in the danger zone…anything that was potentially hazardous…we couldn’t even donate that,” Marshall said. “… We took pictures of everything because we have to report that to our risk management. So if anybody wants, we can show you how much and what it was and what was discarded.”

Gordon, the Marketing Manager, outlined Aramark’s efforts at procuring student feedback, which she said is key to improving the dining experience on campus. Through student input, for example, she mentioned that the structure of meal plans was changed this year. Commuters no longer have meal swipes, and 20 flex dollars have been added to every plan.

“[T]his goes back to the feedback that we got amongst the students,” she said. “… and so one thing that we were able to do was change what the meal plan looked like for this year.”

Questions asked by the senators for the presenters also focused around student feedback and improvement of the dining and catering experience. Inquiries were put forth about alleviating the often long wait for food at the Marketplace in the BSC, and gratitude was expressed as to how Aramark handled the case of the blade being in the salad of a student. Dan Kennedy, SJ, a senator for the College of Philosophy and Letters, posited whether Aramark would consider having brewed coffee available for catered events – coffee made from syrup is currently the only option.

Marshall said that Aramark is looking into providing brewed coffee for it’s catering events, and all three Aramark representatives stressed that the company is looking forward to continuing to improve the dining experience for SLU students.