Different Flavor

Aramark’s changes to cafeteria satisfy SF students


Staff Photo

Junior Rafael Rodriguez prepares to order at the new deli station at the cafeteria. The station is one of several changes made by new operator Aramark.

By Ian Cowie, Staff Writer

The bell rings and students come rushing into the cafeteria, eager to have a break between classes and take some time to catch up with friends.
One thing most people don’t look forward to are bland and unappetizing school lunches, a staple of public school education in the minds of most students.
Spring-Ford aimed to challenge that idea when they unveiled a new cafeteria this school year. A promotional video showcased the new layout and five branded stations, where students can choose from make-your-own salads, sandwiches, nachos, tortillas, and more. There is a rotating menu station with a new showcase dish every day. More snack and drink options are also available, with customization being a general theme.
The shiny stations and video certainly make the cafeteria look good, but did Aramark, the new operator, really improve the quality of meals?
The short answer is – yes. The long answer is a little more complex.
“When Aramark came in, they brought a higher level of dietary knowledge and expertise that we didn’t have before” cafeteria manager Mary-Jo Galen said.“They made lots of kitchen changes and introduced new ways for employees to work faster and be more productive.”
These changes allowed the kitchen staff to introduce more menu options, from sweet-and-sour chicken to southern-style pulled pork.
This expanded menu is being met with a warm reception from students.
“The food is a lot better,” high school senior Sanjana Chatterjee said. “There’s more options for me to choose from.”
The variety of foods available is a big plus for students, as are the inclusion of foods from other cultures.
“The menu has a good variety, and the food is consistently fresh and appetizing,” Lauren Tang said.” I’m happy to see food from other cultures and cuisines being incorporated as well.”
There has, however, been one main issue the new cafeteria brought along.
“The lines are long and disorganized,” senior Amanda Beauchamp said. Employee Andrea Smith said Aramark was aware of the congestion issue and tried to address it with the new layout of the serving area. This can only help so much, as an expansion in size would be the only true fix for the problem. Lines may be an issue students have to deal with as a tradeoff for the upgraded cafeteria, and the increase in demand that it caused.
The true test of the new cafeteria came when it was time to throw out leftovers. “It seems like less uneaten f

ood is getting thrown away,” employee Austin Crawford said. This means that students are eating more of

their lunches, and consequently, enjoying them more.

Ultimately, school meals are supposed to give students energy for their day in a tasty and nutritious package. The new cafeteria has done that while offering new options, a greater quality of food, and a new look