Chartwells to expand variety, update food service areas

Students who don’t think they have enough time to grab a bite to eat between classes may be surprised.

Chartwells, the U’s food service provider, not only provides food at the dorms and the Union, but also at smaller kiosks around campus, many of which are getting makeovers this year.

The coffee kiosk in the Marriott Library will still offer hot drinks but will also offer more of a grab-and-go selection this year with sushi, sandwiches and more vegetarian and low-carb selections, according to Mike Paulus, Chartwells district manager.

Along with the increased food selection will come a new physical look as well.

“We want to make it more visually appealing for students,” Paulus said.

The food area in the Annex Building will also undergo a facelift, which is scheduled for winter break. Chartwells is partnering with the U to update the area and provide more food variety.

“It’s a service point for many faculty and staff, but as more classes get moved to that building, we want to make sure we’re there to accommodate students,” he said.

Accommodating students is what Paulus hopes to do this year with improved aesthetics and wider variety at all of the food stops on campus, including the Union.

The C-Store will increase its selection of toiletries and stationery, as well as “double its variety of food,” Paulus said. He is also looking at lengthening the hours for the night owls who stay in the Union.

The menu at the food court in the Union will also see some changes. A sushi chef will be available to make fresh, hand-rolled sushi. The Mandalay Express Asian food option will return for Fall Semester. A hot vegetarian item will also be offered every day. The Mexican food option will be available during Fall Semester, but will be switched to an Italian selection in the spring.

“I liked the sandwiches they make from scratch, and the Chinese food is really good, but other than that, it’s nothing too special,” said David Lindsay, a second-year mathematics grad student.

While some students may grumble about forking over the cash for lunch, Lindsay said he’s come to realize the food isn’t that badly priced.

“A couple of years ago, I thought it was really expensive, but then I realized that everywhere was charging the same prices,” he said.

Chartwells does price comparison charts on a regular basis, and Paulus said he almost always finds that his food is competitive with comparable restaurants, like McDonald’s and Subway.

On top of pricing, variety is something Paulus is always working toward.

“We’re constantly battling against monotony, so we’re trying to mix it up and give students more options,” Paulus said.

That monotony is greatest at the residence halls, where some students eat nearly every meal throughout a week.

“We’re planning on more theme dinners and activities,” Paulus said.

Lindsay also said he wished the Union food court stayed open later and that there was more than one credit card line in the Union, where he ate two or three times a week during the 2003-2004 school year.

“It was a pain when there were 20 people with credit cards, and all of the other cash lines were empty,” he said.

Paulus said he welcomes comments and criticisms like this because “students are my customers, and we really want to make sure they’re being served well.”

Students can deliver electronic feedback by visiting the Chartwells Web site, www.mycampusdining.com/utah, and clicking on the “Contact Us” link.

“All of those comments go directly to me, and I’d love to hear what students have to say to make food service better for them,” Paulus said.

Nutrition

Beginning fall semester, Chartwells will post nutrition information for many of its regular menu selections on site.

Paulus’ goal is to have all of the nutrition information for all of the items posted online.

Also, he wants to increase the number of vegetarian and low-carb items available in the Union.

Student Groups

and Events

Besides providing general campus dining, Chartwells also caters student events nearly at cost.

All groups recognized by the Associated Students of the University of Utah qualify for the discounted catering rate.

“We’ll do anything to help increase participation on campus and provide a community feel,” Paulus said.

He also has a fund that helps further offset campus groups’ expenses, which is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about student catering, visit the Chartwells Web site: www.mycampusdining.com/utah.

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