Dining Services Offers Continuous Dining at Urban Bytes and PHC for Rest of Spring 2023 Semester


Jack Gambassi

The dining hall at the Kalhert Village dorm on campus in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Kayleigh Silverstein, Special Projects Managing Editor, News Writer


Housing & Residential Education and Dining Services at the University of Utah have changed the hours of Urban Bytes at Kahlert Village and the PHC Dining Room to offer continuous dining based on feedback from students.

Unlike before, food options will be offered between traditional meal periods. The change was effective March 13 and continues for the remainder of the Spring 2023 semester. 

The day after students were notified of this change via email on March 13, they received word that, to accommodate new staffing needs, the Hive Pizzeria would be closing.

David Ko, associate director for Dining Services, and Chuck Weaver, the resident district manager for Chartwells at the U, expressed the importance of taking into account the resources students utilize. One under-utilized resource is the Crimson View restaurant in the A. Ray Olpin Student Union, said Weaver.

“We constantly are evaluating based on student feedback based on, you know, when students are wanting to eat food, so it’s an informed decision, right?” Ko said. “When we decide to close hours or reduce hours, there’s this reasoning behind that and a lot of it is we want to focus our intention on places that students are going to.”

Weaver said they want to allocate resources where they’re going to be the most effective. 

“We’re always, constantly looking at that and making sure we make the most efficient use of our resources that we have,” he said. 

From the housing side of things, Ko said they do a yearly resident survey to assess what students want and need. Some feedback they received included having more of a variety of food on campus and having QR codes open and available for dinner service. 

“Those are great, you know, very reasonable asks, but there are resources that need to be allocated to make sure those things happen,” Ko said. 

Weaver said students also wanted more hours of operation. 

“We used to close in-seat dining from 10 to 11 a.m., from 2:30 to 5:00 — now we have created those hours of operation, just as a response to that feedback,” Weaver said. 

In addition to closing the Hive, dining also had to reevaluate its hiring. 

“We used to rely heavily on a temp agency, while they were good, they were not very cost-effective,” Weaver said. “So we really made a concentrated effort of hiring our own staff. So we reallocated that resource to spread it further.”

Ko hopes this change will increase meal plan utilization. In his conversations with students in HRE, they have said when they get out of their early classes, breakfast service is typically over. They wish they could just grab a quick meal but previously were unable to.

“So those continuous dining hours allow students to do that,” Ko said. “So my end goal is, I hope we’re providing students more flexibility navigating dining based on their schedules.”

While there hasn’t necessarily been a decline in meal plan usage, Ko said the goal is always to increase that number. 

“There’s always room for improvements, and all the things that Chuck’s team is doing, such as opening up QR codes during dinner service, that’s a huge lift for our dining services partners that they are committed to trying to do,” he said. “Again, all those efforts [are] to make sure we’re providing variety for students.”

Dining Services hopes to build on this new system for the coming semesters. They have plans to reopen the Hive as an extension of the PHC where students can scan in and have a pizza buffet, rather than using a transfer meal or cash credit. 

“We want to eliminate as many barriers to entry at a dining services location, so to make it more meal plan friendly,” Ko said. “We want to make it very accessible.”


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