By Mike Foster
The University of Ottawa is winning the hearts and minds of students through their stomachs.
The Dining Hall served its millionth visitor — Dana Bulloch — last week following its re-launch in September 2015 as an all-you-care-to-eat 24/7 facility with an expanded menu.
Since last year, satisfaction levels among students with Food Services have increased by 21 percentage points, according to the University’s 2015–2016 End of Program Survey.
The secret of Food Services’ success lies in the increased variety of food on offer and the fact that food is available around the clock, which suits the student lifestyle, says Patrick Genest, Food Services director.
“Previously, the food choices were more limited and the menu was static,” Genest said. “Now we have eight food stations on a three-week menu rotation with soups and salads, and the My Pantry station, where students can make their own meals.”
Student satisfaction levels with Food Services had been stagnant for years, he added.
The Dining Hall now serves up to 8,500 students per day, compared to around 6,000 per day last year. Its popularity means the 20,000 square-foot facility with seating for around 700 does get busy at peak times, said Genest.
However, Food Services isn’t letting things simmer on the backburner. Quesada, a new franchise serving burritos and tacos, just opened last week at the SITE building. Three more franchises will open at the 400-seat Learning Centre: a full-service Tim Hortons, Thaï Express and Paramount, which offers Middle-Eastern cuisine with halal options.
Another project is under way to evaluate the food options, space and infrastructure available at the University’s Roger Guindon Hall. Four other projects are also being evaluated. Stay tuned!