Foodservice woes

All the food services construction in the world can’t help you if you don’t operate them properly once they’re open

Mike Davies, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Mike Davies, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When Sean Brady told me he was going to be doing a piece for this edition of The Omega on the current food services construction and upgrades happening (see page five), my immediate thought was, “They can do all the construction they want, but unless they’re going to be open decent hours and staff them properly, it’s not going to improve anything.”

You see, that’s been my main complaint throughout my time here, and I’ve been here a long time.

It seems there are never decent food options available when you need them. And if there are places offering them, they’re staffed terribly.

Does your class start at 8 a.m.? You’d better be the first one in line before Tim Hortons opens in the morning, because if you only arrive on campus at 7:30, you’re going to be late for class if you wait in line for that coffee and bagel. I suppose you could go over to the Independence Centre for your coffee and muffin (no bagels) instead of waiting in line, but you’ll still be late, since you’ll then be walking back to wherever your class is.

Does your class start at 6:30 p.m.? I hope you packed your dinner and brought it with you, because when you go on your break at 7:45, your only choice will be a bag of chips from the vending machine. Wait… sometimes there are pre-packaged cookies in there. Lucky us.

Get out of class at 8:30 and want a cold beer at the campus pub? Sorry, it wasn’t busy enough, so they just decided to lock up and go home. In this hypothetical situation (based on real events that happened frequently), they did last call at 7:30 for the three tables of people who were enjoying themselves, and just assumed nobody else was coming in for the rest of the night, despite knowing, if they’ve spent any length of time in food and beverage service, that the post-dinner rush won’t be happening until likely after 9:00, and there is generally a lull you have to fight through to get to your big-money hours filled with liquor sales.

If they don’t know that, why are they running a pub?

Anyway, the point I’m making is this: for an institution that claims to want to create an atmosphere where people stick around on campus, they sure force people off it more than they should.

I mean, there isn’t even a place on campus to buy groceries or toilet paper, so even the people who actually live here are forced to leave just to satisfy their basic everyday needs.

So when I read Brady’s finished piece on the improvements, and saw, “Along with the new restaurants will come longer hours, intended to serve students who hang around campus after most have gone home for the day,” I perked up.

About time, I say.

Although, it remains to be seen what “longer hours” means, exactly, since an extra hour really won’t cut it for those of us who want to go to Heroes on any day that isn’t Thursday, or for students who live on campus who don’t want to have to head out into the city for dinner.

And it certainly won’t solve the issue of needing to leave your own community (TRU) in order to get shampoo.

For me, the whole “University Village” concept that they’re trying to get people to subscribe to can’t come soon enough.

Let’s start with the fundamentals, though, which, despite their awesomeness, are not Bento’s Sushi and Thai soup.

They are a grocery store, a pub that’s open late and coffee shops that are open early and managed by people who know what they’re doing.

Start with those things and grow from there. Don’t start with expanding what you’re already doing poorly and hope people can live with it because it was even worse before you did.