The Parkhurst Dining staff is looking toward the future, hoping to perfect the fan favorites and introduce some new instant classics.
Due to some changes in staffing, Stephanie Lang is now the acting general manager of Parkhurst Dining and oversees operations at Hodson Dining Commons. Long term, however, Parkhurst is searching for a new general manager to oversee the Taylor location.
“We didn’t want to rush finding the right person for this role,” Lang said. “It was very much an easy transition.”
In addition to a new general manager, the dining commons has a new chef, Charles Fox. Fox has worked at a number of high-end restaurants in the Indianapolis area. Although he has never worked on a college campus, he is welcoming the new challenge.
“I was intrigued about doing a college,” Fox said. “And [excited about] having summers free to travel.”
As they navigate new changes in staffing, Parkhurst is open to student feedback. This comes in the form of student feedback cards around the DC and new student forums.
“At the end of J-Term, we transitioned to having student forums,” Lang said. “[Student forums] have been a big focus for us in this semester, finding those ways that students communicate.”
Student forums are largely organic conversations between students and dining staff exchanging feedback about the services being offered in all dining areas on campus. The goal for these open conversations is for students to understand the challenges that dining staff face and vice versa.
Since allergens are one of the main concerns of both students and staff, that is one area staff is sure to focus on.
“I’m hoping to transition a lot of our stations to serve stations where the team member would serve on the plate,” Lang said. “I think that would help with sanitation, cross-contamination and a lot of allergy concerns we’re seeing.”
While dedicated to preventing cross-contamination, staff is also focused on expanding the menu in both the LaRita Boren campus center and the Hodson dining commons. The Reade Avenue Market is currently one of the objectives of these changes in the student center.
“The [Reade Avenue] Market I’m really focused on, because I think it’s so boring,” Lang said. “We’re working on expanding especially the cooler area into some homemade sandwiches, salads, fruit cups — that sort of thing.”
The Jumping Bean is the other point of focus in the Parkhurst updates, by adding bagels and fruit as food options for the meal swipe.
“We’re looking to add more things to that, because I think that’s really a spot where students like to go, so why wouldn’t I make it even better?” Lang said. “We’re working on getting a juice machine there so that can be part of the meal.”
The biggest thing in store for the student dining experience is a change to the Chick-fil-A in the student center. Over the summer, Chick-fil-A will be renovated and become more of a traditional Chick-fil-A experience.
Many of the specific changes have to do with customer flow, eliminating the need for students at Chick-fil-A to wait in a second line for checkout after gathering their meal. In addition, it will be less grab-andgo and more of an order and pick up system.
“A lot of the drinks will go behind the counter,” Lang said. “You won’t grab a bag and do it yourself anymore.”
The main goal of Parkhurst staff is to encourage a better dining experience for all students and staff. Lang especially wants to encourage students to speak their mind about their dining experience.
“I hope [students] see the effort,” Lang said. “We’re here whenever you want to talk.”