Food service has probably been the most important issue on the minds of students in recent years at Babson College. The overwhelming outcry against Sodexo and the overall dining experience were finally heard last year when Dean of Student Affairs Larry Ward headed the search for a new service provider.
Communication by Dean Ward’s team was exceptional, as students understood every step in the transition to Chartwells. There were high hopes going into the year, and a month into the semester we can start to see how things are playing out.
Many times, Chartwells administrationhave voiced their commitment to additional options, quality and responding to feedback. In a meeting with campus leaders, the head chef and regional manager of Chartwells both asked for continual feedback from the student body.
They emphasized that unless students speak out, they don’t know what is going wrong. They also stressed that they want to maintain the quality of food throughout the year, an issue of concern due to Sodexo’s quality slumps near the end of semesters.
Undeniably, Trim and Reynolds’appear and feel cleaner and more pleasant; there are additional options, especially for dinner; and the new administration seems open to and ready for feedback.
There has not been a significant enough change in the quality of the food to make an overarching statement, but there seems to be more seasoning and more creative
Currently, problems seem logistic, such as long lines and dealing with large events, which is a goodsign. These are all operational issues that can be fixed easily and don’t necessarily indicate bad trends that will continue.
Chartwells is still hitting its stride, but their most important accomplishment that they should be lauded for is their willingness to listen and improve.
Using their texting feedback system, students get responses and see results. Managers can always be found on the floor and encourage feedback. They are opening up conversation with the community on how to improve, and seem to be taking these suggestions to heart. In response to student feedback, Chartwells brought back to-go cups, which initially they removed, as well as adding new condiments and a wider variety of teas.
We are definitely moving in the right direction, but we have to recognize that we will not become a five star dining establishment.
If you have a problem with your dining experience, voice it, and we will see how Chartwells’ responds. Lines are definitely an issue that we hope gets solved soon, and Chartwells has voiced their willingness to combat them. So far, trends are promising, and we are excited to see where Chartwells and Babson Dining go from here.