September 7, 2014

Student dining overwhelmed as semester begins

By Raquel Wolter

Whether you’re a freshman, returning student, or faculty member, it’s hard to miss the enormous amount of students inhabiting campus this year. The Quad looks fuller, classes are overflowing, and lines are longer. McAlister’s is as busy as ever, along with every other dining option Sodexo has to offer. Although Sodexo admits the first two weeks are always hectic, they also recognize if this pace were to continue in the upcoming weeks, some adjustments will need to be made on how they handle the flow of students they serve.

Last year, some restaurants reported serving on average three students for every minute of the day they were open. Of course, this year those numbers will only rise as they cope with the record-breaking freshman class U of L is welcoming. From Fri., Aug. 22 to Thurs., Aug. 28, Sodexo processed 44,000 transactions. The first day of classes alone, 9,500 transactions occurred.

Charlie Clabaugh, marketing and sustainability coordinator for Sodexo, says the first three weeks are always most hectic as students haven’t figured out their schedules.

“Once students get the hang of what times are most convenient to grab a bite to eat, things tend to spread out and become less chaotic.”

Sandella’s Flatbread cafe, expected to open after Fall Break, should alleviate the volume constantly being pushed through McAlister’s.

Clabaugh says the biggest challenge if the level of volume from the first two weeks of classes were to continue, is the apparent need for more dining options. When asked if Sodexo is staffed accordingly to the amount of volume they are experiencing, number of employees wasn’t as big of an issue as just providing alternative options for students to use their meal plans.

Sodexo has twenty dining options in which students can use their meal plans. You can find a list of the locations online at 

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