As part of an effort to make the dining services offered at The Meliora more economical, a number of changes were made to the menu before services were continued this fall.
“We looked at the whole Meliora program,” Operations Director of The Meliora and Catering Sharon Greco said. “We wanted to keep The Meliora from losing as much money without making the prices go up for the students.”
The Meliora, which offers lunch on weekdays, dinner on Friday night and special event catering, is, like other dining halls on campus, an ARAMARK-run establishment.
Recent changes include a shorter grill menu during lunch hours in which less popular selections have been removed, and the switch from an la carte menu to themed dinner buffets during Friday evening hours.
The main reason for changing The Meliora’s menu is profitability, according to Greco. The Meliora loses money each year. Also, the volume of people who are served at The Meliora daily has grown dramatically. At the beginning of the last academic year, The Meliora served approximately 300 people per day ? a number that rose to around 700 by the end of the year.
The rise in customers made the monetary losses more significant and also sparked some other alterations, including a new arrangement of the stations in the la carte area during lunch hours.
One major expense for The Meliora is labor costs. The Meliora employs union staff and ARAMARK chefs, with approximately 25 staff members required each day. The shorter grill menu at lunch and the theme dinner buffets are all aimed at cutting labor costs by reducing the number of employees working during that time.
Students have met these changes with mixed reactions. “I feel as though the changes have not been beneficial for the student body,” senior Rachel Shiffrin said. “I’m upset that we are expected to pay higher prices for a reduced menu.”
Other students have hardly noticed the modifications. “I didn’t notice any changes,” senior Matt Hall said. “I haven’t been there enough to know what the menu is.” Hall did note, however, that increasing prices at other dining locations on campus have made The Meliora a more affordable option.
Greco stressed that student feedback is important concerning the changes as well as any existing issues students may have regarding The Meliora.
Students are encouraged to give their opinions through comment cards as well as monthly ‘Dine with the Director’ luncheons. The luncheons are held the last Friday of each month, and give a small group of students, faculty and staff the opportunity to talk with Greco and give suggestions. Greco also encourages students to include contact information on comment cards to enable her to respond.
“Adjustments and changes are constantly being made,” Greco said. “With each change we have to wait long enough to see if it is successful. It is a work in progress.”
Egan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.