Food Court

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InUnited States of America, many university and college staffs,students, visitors, and faculty are interested in food courts foron-campus dining. More often, most universities have opted foroutsourcing services at various food courts. In 2001, a researchsurvey that was conducted by American School and university showedthat many universities and colleges outsourced not less than oneservice. Furthermore, the research suggested that ninety four percentof these colleges and universities outsource their food courtservices for various reasons. This survey also stated that majorityof schools were slackening their support on contracted services(Yen-Soon, Moreo, and Ye 98). From 1999 to 2001, the percentage ofthe universities that outsourced more than five food court serviceshad decreased by ten percent. Due to the complaints from students,universities believe that outsourcing their food services will leadto more effective and good services. Others believe that theuniversity management has the capability of giving quality andeffective food court services hence they stick to their ownoperations. The aim of this paper is to research Utah valleyuniversity food court and compare it with other universities likeOklahoma State University. In addition, this paper will research oncustomer satisfaction, cultural impacts, and healthy food options inthese institutions.

UtahValley University has embraced a tradition that offers its clients,most of them students, excellent dining services (Utah ValleyUniversity 1).the department of dining services is handled andmanaged under and by the guide of Sorensen Student Center Auxiliaryservices. This department holds a mission that takes consideration ofbenefits and dining enjoyment of the students. Utah Valley Universityhas a Centre Courte that offers retail food alternatives such asSubway, Costa Vida, Rockin’ Robbie’s, Utah Valley UniversityBakery Shoppe, and Wdog, and Pizza Hut Express. These outlets operateat different hours depending on the location. Located upstairs, isthe Valley View cafeteria which offers a variety of home style menus,dietary meals, and foreign food (UVU 1). The cafeteria ensures thatthe menus rotate on a daily basis. Therefore, the students areprovided with quick meals throughout the day.

Thestudents recommend the Sorensen Student Center and Catering Servicesas having exquisite catering services. For over twenty five years,this food court service has earned the prestige in exceptional diningservice. The consumers range from staff personnel, students, localcommunities, weddings, administrators, class reunions, and conferencegroups. Not only does the Dining Services Department offer qualitydining services, but also it gives employment opportunities to boththe students and residents all around Provo and Orem. Utah ValleyUniversity provides a variety of locations. Payment options areprovided regularly in all locations at all its registers. The optionsinclude UV meal plans, check, credit cards, and cash. Vendingmachines are also available across campus and are offered through thedining services (UVU 1).

Bothuniversities offer a meal plan for their part time students, staff,faculty, and full time students. However, a review from differentstudents from Utah Valley University show that quite a number ofstudents enjoy the wide variety of dining options, they state that itis affordable and of quantity. For some, the food experience at Utahis awful especially at Teriyaki Stix, which provides chicken turdletsand white rice. For struggling students, the meal is expensive yetnot enjoyable. The meal plan offers the students a variety ofbenefits. Students are able to save time and keep their parking spacebecause they do not have to go off campus to take meals. Anotherbenefit is that clients can enjoy full meals and snacks withoutstruggling to cook or wash dishes. The campus ensures that studentswho buy food from specific locations in the campus save five to tenpercent on every purchase (UVU 1). Sorensen student centerrestaurants also give special offers to their students. Moreover, byhaving a meal plan, the students and other clients are able to keepaway from Automated Machine transaction costs. A meal plan alsoprovides variety of food that is of quantity and quality. Not only isa meal plan effective when it comes to safety, but also it offers adining atmosphere that is comfortable and that is near the classes.

Onthe other hand, Oklahoma State University provides its clients withmeal plans that are versatile and adjustable according to eachperson’s needs. For instance, the customer gets a chance to decidethe frequency at which he or she wants to have meals, where to havethem, and when to have them. The declining dollar system forms abasis for meal plans in Oklahoma state university dining services.The input of the students also determines how the meal plans aredesigned. After a purchase of a specific plan, and eating in oncampus outlet, a considerable balance is subtracted from the client’sbalance. The meal plan a client has determines the amount that willbe deducted, if the client is on the all you care to eat option(Yen-Soon et al 107). Another option known as a la carte allows theprovider to deduct the exact amount spent from the client’s mealplan. The clients also can transfer unused meal plan dollars fromsemester to semester as long as the dining plan contract is in place.

WhenUtah University offers a special dietary meal in their cafeteria,Oklahoma goes an extra mile by offering a tool that allows clients toview exact nutritional information and menus at various diningservices locations. Recommended Dietary Allowances forms the basisfor the daily value percentage for females and males between the agesof nineteen to twenty. The tool known as Netnutrition gives theclients the opportunity to compare and view menu selections, plan anaccurate balance diet, screen the food list for unique dietaryinformation and for allergens, and finally choose menus and dininglocations depending on one owns diet preferences. The dietaryguidelines for Americans suggest that a healthy eating plan containssaturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars, tarns fats, and salt thatare low, puts an emphasis on such things like vegetables, low fatmilk frits, and whole grains, lean meat, nuts, eggs, fish, beans, andpoultry. This is what is offered in Oklahoma state university,although as special food.

BothOklahoma State University and Utah Valley University respectscultural diversity. For instance, 4 Chipotle restaurants serving fastMexican foods have been opened in Utah. The restaurants serve tacos,salads, and burritos. These restaurants are namely CottonwoodHeights, Sandy, West Bountiful, and Salt Lake. These four Chipotlesoffers the people of Utah County access to Mexican food since thereare none in the county of Utah, therefore increasing the consumertarget markets for these universities. On the other hand, OklahomaUniversity in two thousand and three had an enrollment of twothousand, one hundred and six eight international students, whichmeans the university has different students with different culturalbackgrounds. To satisfy this mixture of students, the universitydining services offer variety of food to choose from, taking intoconsideration the differences in cultures. Some students in UtahValley University complain that some food from some cultures is notoffered in the university.

Yen-Soonet al., (99) suggest that satisfaction is a very important when itcomes to dining services in Universities. It is very difficult forUniversity food service to satisfy a community with divergent,confined, and dynamic cultures. These people are of varied ages,cultural backgrounds, social development, class, and variededucational backgrounds. However, these Universities food servicestry what they can to satisfy them all, although it is somehow hard.Such a situation leads to the dining service management restrictingsome individuals to one site food facilities with the aim ofsatisfying their daily nutritional requirements. Furthermore, manyuniversity food courts have been struggling to give students andstaffs a dining experience that is satisfactory and that matchesvarious nutritional, financial, and social impulses. Suchcircumstances are evident from student’s reviews from bothUniversities, which indicate that some students are satisfied withthe food court experiences in their Universities while others arenot.

Aresearch that was conducted on Oklahoma State university studentsshows that various factors determine the level of satisfaction thatfood courts in Universities would give to their students andemployees (Yen-Soon et al., 108). First, food quality is very vitalin ensuring satisfaction. Quality means that the food must be freshand served with convenient and reasonable service. Furthermore,customer satisfaction is enhanced by the universities offeringItalian, Mexican, and Asian cuisines at different dining serviceslocations within the campus.

Fromwhat students say, Utah Valley University dining services offers moreunhealthy food than healthy food, which many individuals choose topurchase. Majority of university students are at the stage of youngadulthood where family influence is very minimal, which means thatmost of them choose what to eat or not. However, if what isconvenient and easily accessible is junk food, that is what they optfor. Public health research that was conducted recently shows thatcoronary heart disease, hypertension, and other food relatedconditions start early in people’s lives, becomes badly off atyoung adulthood, and then to middle adulthood where a person is putat risk. Therefore, the University food courts should try to maximizehealthy options to minimize Student’s future health problems.According to Freudenberg, Manzo, Mongiello, Jones, Boeri, andLamberson (425), consumption of unhealthy food and alcoholconsumption by University students is rising posing more health risksto these students in the future and in their current lives. Anotherresearch that was conducted by the National College Health Assessmentin 2011 indicates that ninety four percent of students do not takeenough vegetables and fruits as recommended each day, and fifty sixpercent do not engage in physical activities as recommended(Freudenberg et al., 428). This is a call for Utah Valley Universityand Oklahoma State University to provide healthy options in all foodlocations at an affordable amount. Healthy diets should not betreated as special, but they should be made part of all meals in theUniversities.

Themeal habits of all student’s in these two Universities depends ontheir lectures, food available in the campus, or in the surroundingareas, which means that students might skip meals, engage insnacking, or even lack adequate variety of options to choose from.Freudenberg et al., (429) suggests that universities should promotehealthy eating habits among students by offering meals that are highin fiber, has low saturated fats, dairy products, and whole grains.Since many universities hold the population that is at risk ofdeveloping health related problems, the government of United Statesof America should develop new rules and laws that govern howinstitutions provide food in schools. These laws should recommendhealth programs and policies that control unhealthy eating habits inthis in institutions.

Inconclusion, it is evident that although various University foodcourts offer varieties of food options but have failed to satisfyfully the cultural food diversity and health diets for theirstudents. For instance, the Utah valley University students complainthat the menus from food courts do not cover food for all culturalgroups. Moreover, the struggling students are not able to purchasethe special dietary options that are expensive. For Oklahoma Stateuniversity food courts, nutritious food is served in only specificlocations and the Netnutrition tool is designed for specificindividuals. We know that it is not easy for these institutions tosatisfy each individual’s desires, but efforts are made to come upwith food courts that take into consideration the culturalbackground, nutritional habits, class, age, and financial status ofindividuals in campus. The government should also play a part byensuring that food served in Universities is healthy to avoid afuture population that is full of health related diseases.


Freudenberg,Nicholas, Luis Manzo, Lorraine Mongiello, Hollie Jones, NatasciaBoeri, and Patricia Lamberson. &quotPromoting the Health of YoungAdults in Urban Public Universities: A Case Study from CityUniversity of New York.&quot Journalof American College Health61.7 (2013): 422-30. Print.

Kim,Yen-Soon, Patrick J. Moreo, and Ronnie J. M. Yeh. &quotCustomers`Satisfaction Factors Regarding University Service.&quotJournal of Foodservice Business Research 7.4 (2005): 97-110. Print.

UtahValley University. Dining Services. 19 April 2013.