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

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources