By Duke Staff
This summer, Duquesne University made the switch to Parkhurst Dining and gave Aramark, our previous food provider of 28 years, the cut. At this point in the semester, this will not come as news to students looking for a place to eat on campus.
Parkhurst was chosen to replace Aramark in an attempt to improve campus dining, but are students receptive to the change?
One of Parkhurst’s driving principles is their dedication to locally grown, fresh ingredients. This shift in attention is evident in the quality of food, but quantity is another story.
For the last three years, Duquesne has surpassed its previous record of incoming students, this year’s freshmen class reaching over 1,550.
But what effort has been made to provide more dining services on campus? While the Culinary Cab has been added (see more on page 7 ) and hours have been increased, class times and students’ schedules have not. Lines inside The Off Ramp and Sean Hogan Dining Center have never been longer, forcing students to either wait for a proper meal or grab an already prepared option or less fulfilling snack.
Variety is also an issue with students across campus. Many of the options Aramark previously provided have been nixed from the menu while fewer, newer items have been added. Cheesesteaks , grilled cheeses and daily soups have been cut from The Off Ramp, while the specials at Options have been annihilated to make room for a sushi bar, with some specialty sushi plates going for as much as $9.99 each. Items have gone up,in price but flex options have not.
These changes might seem like a negative to the returning student, but Parkhurst is proving that change is good in other ways. Since the switch, Parkhurst has been constantly listening to what students have to say and continues to adjust problems when they arise.
One example of this is the reintroduction of customizable sandwiches at The Off Ramp, after an overwhelming outcry from students. Vegetarian voices have also been heard with the introduction of hot plates solely for veggie burgers.
Comparisons between Aramark and Parkhurst will surely arise but it is important to remember that our previous provider worked with us for close to 30 years while our recent has only been here since the summer.
Not all problems may be Parkhurst’s place to fix, but it at least seems that they are more than willing to listen.