College cafeterias are failing to attract students. Thus, colleges need to rethink their approach to modernizing the cafeteria and ensuring a pleasant dining experience for students.
Here’s how that can be arranged.
Bringing Changes to Your Menu
A pleasant dining experience is non-existent without a diverse menu. While there are many ways to ensure diversity, here are five things your college cafeteria menu must ensure.
- It must cater to religious restrictions and include halal and kosher foods.
- The cafeteria must be aware that students might be allergic to different foods. So, they should include food options in their daily menus that don’t contain similar key ingredients like nuts or pepper.
- Your cafeteria should serve vegetarian items as well.
- The regular menu must include at least one sweet item.
- No two meals during the day can include the same items. However, the key ingredients can be the same.
You also have to ensure that the menu is not too expensive. You want diversity in your menu, but you should also avoid making it unaffordable for the students. Strike a balance between the two. You can raise the prices a little, but not to the point that students fail to afford anything on it.
Getting the Right Kind of Cafeteria Furniture
When you’re thinking of modernizing the cafeteria, you must first get the right cafeteria furniture. Be it bench-style tables or round cafeteria tables; you’ll have to decide on something that complements the aesthetic you’re aiming for. At the same time, the tables must be functional too.
NPS Cafeteria Tables have a diverse collection that might interest you, especially their elliptical and round ones. You need to explore your options for the ideal cafeteria seating arrangement and decide on something practical. The benefit of choosing from NPS is that most of these tables come attached with chairs. So, you don’t have to look separately for them.
Extending Operating Hours
Student cafeterias usually work from 8 am to 7 pm on most days. However, students living on campus might want to visit after that time. Be it for studies or grabbing a bite to eat, students will enjoy visiting the cafe once it takes on a new look. Thus, extending the operating time by a couple of hours will help these students.
Stay open till at least 9. Afterward, you can either close the entire cafe or close certain food counters.
Keeping the Cafeteria Interior Colorful and Aesthetic
Never shy away from using bold and bright colors inside the cafeteria. Avoid painting your college motto all over the walls. Don’t bother placing unnecessary quotes here and there. Instead, go with a variety of bright colors and patterns. Keep things as aesthetic as possible without making them feel forced or dull.
Working with National Restaurant Franchises
National restaurant franchises like Subway or Chick-fil-A can take over cafeteria operations or part of it. You need to decide that when your cafeteria is failing in terms of quality and quantity.
Besides, once the students lose confidence in the college, they wouldn’t want to see them retake control of the cafeteria. So, that would be the ideal time to bring in outsiders to manage and oversee operations. Students will particularly welcome the initiative of bringing in an established franchise to oversee food operations.
One drawback of this is that your menu will lose its diversity. So, you either have to bring in multiple franchises or have a separate operation within the cafeteria where the college is providing another menu with more variation.
Respond to Student Feedback and Suggestions
No one will know how to improve or modernize the college or university cafeteria than the students who frequent it every day. So, their opinions and suggestions should always get a priority. Install a suggestion box outside the cafeteria gates and go through what the students have to say at least once a month.
A quick look at the best college dining halls in the US will help you realize that they’re all doing something different. It could be in terms of decor, food, or even how they serve the students. Whatever the way is, it shows that anyone can bring out tremendous change to their college cafeterias with a bit of effort. With that, they can also ensure a first-class dining experience for their students while making sure not to price things too high.