A Tale of Rivalry Dining Programs

Two days at competing colleges shows similarities in dining programs.

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Rivalries are a tricky thing, especially in colleges. I graduated from the University of Kansas and the hatred for our bitter rival, the University of Missouri, was palpable from the day I set foot on campus. The rivalry has some interesting real world history involving the era known as Bleeding Kansas, slave state versus free state and the fact that Missourians once burned KU’s hometown of Lawrence to the ground.

So it was with a great swallowing of pride that I decided to arrange a tour of Mizzou, in Columbia, while I was going to be in the area for a family wedding last month. I decided the only way I could live with this decision was if I visited KU the next day. I had met and spoken with Julaine Kiehn, director of campus dining services at Mizzou, several times and I knew she ran a wonderful program that deserved attention. I had also met and written about Nona Golledge, director of KU Dining, and knew she had made great changes to KU since I had graduated (in 2006) that I wanted to see for myself.

My tour at Mizzou was first, and surprisingly, they didn’t instantly know when the “enemy” had entered the campus. What I found was a leafy campus with stately buildings, much like you find on many college campuses. As the day progressed I saw a very impressive operation, especially when I got to see first hand the great work the dining department has done at its new student center, which houses six restaurant-inspired concepts.  I got to taste tacos from the campus-favorite Baja Fresh and listen in on plans for an addition to an all-you-care-to-eat location. Everyone couldn’t have been nicer, even once they heard I hailed from KU.

When I met Nona at KU we first sat down to lunch at the new-to-me Impromptu Café, a sit-down restaurant at the Kansas Union that serves sandwiches, soups and salads. Nona then walked me through the major changes that have taken place since I graduated, which included a gut renovation that opened this year of the dorm and all-you-care-to-eat dining hall where I lived my freshman year, a new café at the school of pharmacy complete with retro-style soda fountain and updates to other retail areas The Underground and The Studio. The big project in the works is another gut renovation of KU’s signature all-you-care-to-eat facility, Mrs.  E’s. Nona showed me the plans for the location such as an improved flow and updated finishes, which should be completed next August.

What struck me about both tours was each department’s commitment to changing with their evolving customers. Both are in the midst or have just completed major projects, have a strong grasp of retail and manage themselves with notable efficiency and pizazz. So what started as a trip with heavy bias, ended with an equal admiration for each. When it comes to dining at these two institutions, we can leave the rivalry on the court.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Noncommercial foodservice operations and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to set aside the rules, which are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

If the court rejects the request, restaurants and other businesses will be required after that date to pay overtime to any salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a week and earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

The new unpaid-balance policy at Canon-McMillan School District in Pittsburgh is making waves after a former cafeteria worker sounded off about the practice on social media.

Stacy Koltiska said she quit her job with the district after being forced to take hot meals away from students who owed lunch money, CBS News reports .

Under a new policy that was implemented at Canon-McMillan this year, students whose lunch debt exceeds $25 are not allowed to receive a hot lunch. Children in grades K-6 are given a sandwich in its place, and older students receive no lunch. A recent...

Industry News & Opinion

Due to low participation in its lunch program, Talawanda School District in Oxford, Ohio, is raising the price of school meals this year, Patch.com reports .

The cost of school lunches will see a 30-cent increase, half of which is being enacted to cover the district’s budget. The other half is being required by the government to cover the cost of free and reduced-price lunches provided to low-income families. Prior to this year, the district had not raised prices since 2009.

The district’s cafeterias have experienced a decline in student participation since implementing the...

Industry News & Opinion

Six Philadelphia hospitals were honored by the city’s department of public health for healthy food initiatives introduced as part of the local Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, bizjournals.com reports .

The hospitals each debuted healthy measures to their dining services, such as lowering the cost of water bottles and seltzers, and offering dishes that incorporate local produce. One hospital was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The facilities that were honored were:

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern...

FSD Resources