In its second semester at New College, Metz Culinary Management has finally settled in as the school’s food service provider and begun to coordinate with the students to create a more satisfactory dining experience. This past February, Metz sent out a survey asking students for their opinions and recommendations for various aspects of the dining service. The results have come in and Metz has already made some improvements to accommodate them.
“We got about 200 responses to the survey which was pretty good for a school of this size, but I would love to see our responses go up,” Bill Moore, Metz general manager, said. “I want to know the good and the bad because it helps chef and myself decide where we’re going and how.”
The survey was constructed with questions and polls presenting levels of success for the different aspects of the service and offered students a chance to rate certain experiences such as the convenience store and Bravo bar as excellent, good, fair or poor.
“The way the survey read was it started with the question of how often do you eat in Ham and 70 percent replied ‘always to often,’ 30 percent ‘occasionally’ and one student replied ‘never,’” Moore explained. “Now that we’ve fully settled in, Metz will be putting out these surveys twice a year.”
The availability of gluten-free options at the dining hall received the lowest results with 43.22 percent of the survey takers rating it “fair,” showing that almost half of the students expected more gluten-free meals. The vegan and vegetarian options were next to lowest in ratings, with 39.34 percent of the students ranking it as “fair” and 21.33 percent as “poor.”
Metz has made an effort to improve these ratings by implementing changes such as adding beans to the salad bar as a protein supplement for vegans and vegetarians and guacamole and hummus for the bagels as a non-dairy option. The convenience store has received various gluten-free options such as Annie’s mac-n-cheese, gluten-free cookies and crackers and Luna Bars. Metz even met with some of the vegan students at the school to hear some of their personal recipes such as Asian stir fry with rice noodles and ginger peanut sauce.
“The results of the survey are contributing to expanded options for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free eaters,” Shoshanna Lovett-Graff, food service representative, said. “Hopefully they also increased awareness of students with allergens so cross contamination can be better avoided,” she added. Lovett-Graff welcomes emails from anyone with complaints or recommendations for the food service.
Suggestions for improvement also included cooking with less oil, variety at lunch and dinnertime and more oatmeal. Metz has taken steps to satisfy these requests and others such as changing the menu every day, offering steamed veggies, starting a parfait bar for breakfast and adding Poblanos, which offers a variety of Mexican entrees.
Beyond improvements relating to student opinions on the dining hall, Metz has made a strong effort to comply with the school’s culture and student support for sustainable services and organic preferences. Metz has started composting with the school, reaching out for local produce through Fresh Market and buying organic, non-GMO foods while keeping an eye on the food costs in order to balance the student body’s best interests. Furthermore, the leftover food from every day is brought to a local shelter.
Moore encourages students to Facebook friend Metz Dining Services for menu requests and, occasionally, even discounts. The menu is posted weekly on their website at http://www.metznewcollege.com.