Changes may come to Ryerson’s food services

Madison Good

Jaclyn Tansil

Food retail services at Ryerson will be changing based on results from a survey that’s open to all students, faculty and staff.

Ryerson Eats’ current online survey and targeted focus groups are a part of a detailed review of Ryerson’s entire food services operation. The research will be used to prepare a 10-year master plan that will shape the future of food on campus.

“Food Services is constantly evolving to meet the diverse needs of our campus community,” said Voula Cocolakis, executive director, university business services.

The online survey, which runs from Jan. 17- Feb. 3, addresses issues like food cost, ethnic diversity and dietary requirements. Students can tell the university what they want included on campus in the future.

Student responses could affect catering services, as well as what campus buildings will house these food service areas in order to meet Ryerson’s needs. This survey could also affect residence meal plans.

Food services last conducted a survey in April 2016, which was a short, campus-wide customer satisfaction survey. Over 700 responses lead to food changes in Pitman Hall, International Living/Learning Centre (ILC), the Hub Cafe and Jorgenson Hall to give more options to people with dietary restrictions like lactose and gluten intolerance. It also extended Pitman’s regular grill station hours and added weekend and holiday service.

Ryerson’s president, Mohamed Lachemi, said that the school prides itself on innovation in the 21st century, challenging the status quo to see what improvements could be made. The contract with Chartwells, Ryerson’s food service management operator, is coming to an end. Lachemi believes that now is the best time to talk to the community and re-evaluate what improvements students would like to see in the future.

“Last time we did this we heard the need for cheaper food, for more options and also for more sustainable options, and I think that we were able to provide all of those,” said Lachemi. “Now it is about time to open the discussion to our students and hear from them.”

For Cocolakis, this is just another step in the right direction. Since the Hub Cafe opened in the fall of 2014, there has been a large amount of positive support from students, faculty and staff, many of whom have become loyal repeat customers.

Since 2013, food services have also made it their priority to get 25 per cent of food from local, sustainable sources, along with significantly reducing the use of frozen, pre-packaged food.

“We’re proud to report that this number is a bit higher than 25 per cent and would like to continue to prioritize the use of ingredients from Ontario,” said Cocolakis.

Ryerson Eats will be unable to give an estimate of exactly how much Ryerson will expense for the changes until the survey period has closed.

Information on the survey and focus groups can be found at Ryerson Eats.

Check out what some of Ryerson Eats currently has to offer.

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