Sodexo satisfaction survey evaluates student opinion

November 4, 2016

A Sodexo customer loyalty survey that will gauge student and staff interest in different dining options and plans on campus began circulating in late October, according to members of the Brandeis University Senate Dining Committee.

Though the Senate Dining Committee did not create the survey, they are promoting and sharing it on social media in the hopes that more opinions will be heard on the dining options at Brandeis.

“Sodexo hopes that this survey will give them feedback about different changes that can be made to make the Brandeis dining experience the best it can be,” said committee head Kate Kesselman ’19. The Dining Committee hopes to take the results of the Sodexo survey and create a more specific questionnaire, according to Kesselman.

The survey asked each user’s year at Brandeis, their living situation, their meal plan and their most frequented dining halls. The second section of the survey focused on specific dining locations on campus, such as Lower Usdan or Einstein’s. The specific dining location in the second section differed between surveys. Over 200 people have filled out the survey so far.

Charlotte Lang ’19, member of the Dining Committee, explained that this survey is meant to be a gateway to other more specific inquiries into Brandeis dining. “Depending on the responses, there might be another survey sent out on what students want to be in the old Dunkin’ Donuts space,” Lang said.

For every survey submitted, one dollar is donated to the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1999 created to ensure that every child in the United States grows up with dependable access to food. To date, it has raised more than $27 million to alleviate child hunger.

Sodexo arranged the one-dollar incentive as a way to encourage participation in the survey. “Not only when you fill out the survey are you helping the community, but you are also helping Stop Hunger,” Kesselman said.

Dining options at Brandeis have gone through multiple changes since the university switched its campus dining partner from Aramark to Sodexo in July of 2013. The meal plans for on-campus residents have changed, and as of January of 2014 have become mandatory for students living on campus. Additionally, Currito, Louis’ Deli and the sushi bar are all relatively new additions to Brandeis. The newest meal option is a station for sandwiches, Sub Connection.

These new features have come with some cutbacks. The updated dining schedule for the 2016-2017 academic year has Lower Usdan closing at 2:30 p.m. on Fridays and remaining closed throughout the weekend, leaving Sherman as the only operating dining hall at those times. These dining changes received mixed reactions from students at the beginning of the fall semester.

This recent survey questions students on all different facets of Brandeis dining, with an emphasis on the frequency and satisfaction that the user associates with particular dining locations on campus. Additionally, the Dining Committee and Sodexo have been partnering to organize events on campus.

On Nov. 8, there is an opportunity for students to cook their own meals in Sherman and Usdan. “We will have more similar joint events in the future,” Lang said.

The Dining Committee is hopeful that many more students will fill out the survey in the weeks to come so that Sodexo can use the student input to make informed decisions about Brandeis’ dining programs. “This year we are trying to get more people to fill it out so we can hear as many of the Brandeis’ voices and opinions as possible,” said Kesselman.

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