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Dining Services updates continue to address staffing shortages

September 23, 2021
(University of Rochester photo / Matt Wittmeyer)

Additional operational changes and new dining options will help ensure students have access to ample food choices.

Similar to what is being experienced at other colleges and universities, and restaurants across the country, University of Rochester Dining Services is continuing to address significant staffing shortages at its River Campus locations. In response to these challenges, Dining Services is further adjusting some of its operations to ensure that students continue receiving high-quality food options that meet their dietary needs.

Below is an update on the operational changes being implemented, including the new options being introduced.

New options

As a temporary measure in response to the staffing shortage, beginning Monday, September 27, students will be able to use declining balance for off-campus restaurants through Grubhub. This arrangement is not meant to be a permanent part of the meal plan and will only last as long as necessary to supplement student options during this staffing crisis. Students can download the Grubhub app and follow the directions for adding the University of Rochester as an institution and linking their declining balance dollars.

Starting October 4, Dining Services is partnering with Student Activities to bring food trucks onto River Campus, Monday to Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m.  Students can use declining, and the schedule of food trucks will be available on the Dining Services website.

Additional outside resources being brought in include “station takeovers” in The Pit with local partners such as California Rollin’. Dining is also in negotiations with other businesses and restaurants.

Operational changes

The following operational adjustments are being made to address these challenges:

  • Danforth will likely need to close all its stations, effective after dinner Monday, September 27, while keeping the dining room open for seating. If staffing levels permit in the coming weeks, Danforth could be opened in a limited capacity Monday- Friday with four front-facing stations open (Bistro, Grill, Produce, and Brick) and Grubhub only from Bistro and Grill. Please check the Dining Services website for updates on this.
  • The Meliora Catering Department will pause taking all new orders and the staff will be redeployed to serve students and provide healthy, full meal options that will be available using declining. Current catering commitments, including Meliora 2021, will be honored and completed; for any new business inquiries starting Monday, September 27, customers will be referred to the approved catering list.
  • Some hours of dining operations have changed and, in many cases, been extended. The revised hours and operational changes made to date are available on the Dining Services website.

There are currently no changes being made to Starbucks, the Eastman Dining Center, or Hillside.

“We are continuing to explore all options and resources to provide new food options and variety to our students,” said Cam Schauf, director of campus dining services and auxiliary operations. “Our priority is ensuring all of our students have access to ample food choices as we actively work on hiring new staff, including student workers. We will evaluate each dining operation as we hire new employees.” Student workers are being recruited and on-boarded to help in all areas. Additionally, the Dining Services management team is volunteering to ensure all student needs are being met.

“Additionally, understanding that the changes in Dining Services occurred after the last meal plan change period, we are opening a special change period (no fee) that, in addition, to the normal change rules, will also give students in Group 1 housing the opportunity to change to the Option A Declining Plan,” said Schauf. This change period will begin on Thursday, Septemaber 30, 2021 and run through Monday, October 4, 2021. The change form is available on the meal plans page of the Dining Services website. Completed forms can be sent electronically to mealplans@services.rochester.edu or delivered to the ID Office in Susan B. Anthony Halls. All changes will take up to three days to process.

Lastly, all students, including those with concerns about allergens, who have questions about these options should contact Dining Services at rcnutrition@services.rochester.edu; this account is actively monitored and responses delivered within 24 hours.

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