The doors to Mabee Dining Hall swing open, staff greet you as you enter, and you begin to scope out the new food scene: Thanks to ongoing input from the Trinity community, student voting on retail food options, and a focused vision, the Trinity Dining Program is shifting shape.
“It was time for Trinity to refresh its vision for dining and food service,” says Bruce Bravo, senior director for Conferences and Special Programs. “The Trinity Dining Program reflects a new philosophical approach where Chartwells is supporting the University’s dining operation. Trinity is in control of the program and its outcomes.”
The Trinity Dining Program reflects the efforts of the Dining Services RFP Committee that prioritized food quality and variety, innovation, sustainability, social justice, and nutrition and wellness.
“The Trinity Dining Program is designed to be innovative and inclusive. If students don’t like the food at a particular retailer, it can be changed. Previously, the food options were fairly static,” says Danny Nguyen ’24, president of the Student Government Association. “In this Trinity Dining Program, you’ll see more focus on dietary options, especially with the Delicious Without station that offers allergy-friendly and plant-based selections, putting health and wellness front and center when entering the dining hall.”
While some details are still being finalized, Trinity Dining is excited to share the following information about the Dining Program. For more details as they become available, including your dining options for Fall 2023–24, visit the Trinity Dining Program website.
Food Quality and Variety
The Trinity Dining Program is committed to ensuring food quality and variety through Chartwells Higher Education’s services. Chartwells will implement a culinary approach that celebrates authentic and diverse recipes through scratch cooking, made with both flavor and wellness in mind. Small-batch preparation allows them to customize meals for students, giving them the power to decide what they want in their dishes. Chartwells believes that “food should taste good and make someone feel good.” An on-site registered dietitian (in the process of being hired) will review menus and new concepts to help guarantee a healthy variety of dietary options.
Innovation is an important aspect of the Dining Program. One of the proposed concepts for the Commons is Sous Vide Kitchen, a virtual dining hall. To ensure freshness and speed, workers will use pre-cut and pre-washed vegetables and pre-cooked vacuum-sealed proteins to be prepared sous vide. With Sous Vide Kitchen, students will be able to order food through an app, a QR code, or from self-serve kiosks. This type of kitchen will implement a line style to deliver custom orders from twelve different cuisines, from barbecue to Indian, using less than 100 ingredients.
Sustainability and Food Waste
The Trinity Dining Program is also dedicated to sustainability and decreasing food waste. Accordingly, 20% of food will be sourced locally, and the Dining Program will provide access to a composting service to help with this initiative. A company, e.g., Compost Queens, will come out and retrieve the food waste, take it to their compost machine, and return it to the students. The Trinity Dining Program has also committed to the eco2go box program, with more details to come.
Social Justice and Employment
Compass Group USA, the parent group of Chartwells, has recently been named one of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity 2023 by Newsweek. This accolade acknowledges companies that employees say respect and value different kinds of people. Recognizing that this dining transition affects the current Trinity dining employees, Chartwells will offer a position to 100% of current non-managerial Aramark employees at an equivalent or increased salary in addition to other company perks. Chartwells will also offer student internships in several focus areas. These internship opportunities are being finalized, and more details will be posted this summer.
“I am excited to see students, faculty, and staff enjoy and engage with the Trinity Dining Program,” says Demi Brown-Roberts, dean of students.
The Trinity Dining Program will solicit ongoing feedback and questions through:
- The Student Dining Advisory Committee (email@example.com) who regularly meet with the dining team
- Text2Chat feature, which allows the diner to privately send text messages with compliments, complaints, and questions, similar to a mobile comment card in real-time
- Voice to Vision Fall Dining Survey
- Spring Focus Groups
- Chef visibility during peak dining hours