What’s Going On With This Year’s Caf?

And how can it be improved?

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Last year the cafeteria was fantastic. However, after both Rosa and Maria retired, the cafeteria was left with a huge hole to fill. These two legends retiring, as well as the arrival of a brand new food service will definitely be a challenge for this year’s cafeteria to overcome. I decided to get some opinions on how they are doing a few weeks into school.

Last year, there were always three registers open. It allowed for quick and efficient payment so people could begin eating faster. This year, one of the registers is rarely open. Junior Liam Hickey feels “they are so slow.” In my opinion, the best way to speed this up would be to introduce a cash only line that accounts can also use. Thus, there will be 1-2 lines where cash paying customers can no longer slow down the line. This would help improve the line situation significantly and overall, be a step in the right direction for the Caf.

Last year, the deli was solid. The food is exactly what you expect. It gets the job done: no more, no less. An ideal structure for a school lunch. The lines were long during busy days because there would only be two people making one sandwich at a time. Now, the two deli chefs have formed a type of assembly line. The first chef cuts the bread and puts on meat, cheese, or veggies. The second chef applies the condiment and wraps it in the plastic. It is a much better system and the students applaud the increased efficiency. Junior Declan Lavelle replied, “The deli has gotten far more professional, but the fry production has slowed down, with students waiting for upwards of 5 minutes.” Declan is definitely correct about the deli and possibly with the fries as well. The only issue with the fry line is that the server is not always there. It’s understandable. The server may have multiple jobs in the kitchen, but during the heavier times, the goal should be efficiency. It’s not that big a deal. The fries themselves are very good, so the wait is worth it. With that being said, the deli is far more efficient and is overall better and it’s a significant improvement.

I spoke with a few students about the snack area in the back of the caf, referred to by Senior Cameron Lawrence as the “Snack Shack.” The general consensus was that it is very solid. They have a much larger drink selection, but in turn, lost some other aspects. Junior Danny Mackle commented, “They not only took away the ice cream machine but the freezer too.” As someone who loved the “chipwiches” last year, this was devastating to me. Despite this, the “snack shack” improved from last year with their variety of drinks and chips. I spoke with Junior and recent UPenn commit Emmet Carroll who believes the chip section is quite good. “The sweet Chili Doritos are good. I like Doritos. I like the snack section for having Doritos.” I love the new Dunkin Donuts iced mochas. They are now a staple of my day and I rely on them to get me through the first few periods of my day. I believe the “snack shack” is another area that is improved from last year’s cafeteria.

Overall, the cafeteria is working to meet the standards set in past years. The majority of the people I’ve spoken to believe that is getting the job done, but compared to last year, it’s doing okay. However, the school year has just begun. There is a lot of potential for the cafeteria to become great. There are just a few minor issues that are definitely fixable. I look forward to seeing the cafeteria improve as the year goes on and I thoroughly believe that it will get there.