Parents Council Dining Services Tour
On April 9, 2011 during the Parents Council Spring Meeting, Council was invited to tour Juniata's dining services facilities. The hour-long tour was led by Hal McLaughlin, General Manager of Sodexo, and included a behind-the-scenes look at the Baker Refectory kitchen and the nine stations in the main dining hall and concluded with lunch at Eagles Landing, the café located on the second floor. The Parents Council's report is below.
What impressed you about the Food Service at Juniata?
- The overall statistics were impressive: 363,000 meals a year, 9 food stations, 31 beverage choices.
- The director of Food Services Hal McLaughlin was very willing to address student concerns and to accommodate students' needs regarding food. He provides opportunities for the students to meet with him privately on an individual basis as well. His "open door" policy is very student friendly.
- Food Service has made changes quickly to address the concerns of the previous parents' survey which cited problems with food selections in the past at the College.
- Organic, home grown/local foods are used as much as possible.
- The large selection of stations/choices that are available to students on a daily basis and changed every day to give the students variety.
- Hal hired two female students and is working with them to expand on their idea of an organic dietary option at the LOVE (Local, Organic, Vegetarian Eatery) Line.
- Overall cleanliness of the kitchen and dining areas was impressive. The setting is unique with the wall of windows overlooking the campus.
- Hal mentioned Juniata's NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) scores being 100% for food and 99% for their facilities, which is excellent. He takes great pride in his work.
What did you notice about the Food Service that your Student had not told you?
- Keeping up with trends in food: cupcake varieties, gluten-free choices, trans fat-free frying, organic choices, more fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.
- Use of the local produce, especially utilizing the resources of Huntingdon County as well as the state of PA.
- The participation of Students on the College's Student Food Committee.
- Our lunch at the Eagle's Landing was delicious. Because this setting offers individually prepared foods it could require more time for students to obtain their meals and there is limited seating.
- Hal and his staff routinely evaluate their proficiency during catered events by asking for Food Service evaluations from participants.
Did you have any preconceived ideas that were dispelled during your tour of the Food Service?
- It was incredibly clean!
- The variety of foods offered is impressive.
- The staff led by Hal McLaughlin is very accessible to the students and accommodating to their needs.
Areas to explore:
- How do the students on the Food Committee get recruited and how do they gather and present information to the committee?
- What exactly is the Chef Competition, who competes, what are the categories, are students involved, etc.