Op-ed: Opportunity knocking at the cafeteria door

(Photo: Ryan Martin)

by Ryan Martin

Between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. most students can attest to the lack of space in Franklin Pierce’s cafeteria.

The line goes out the door and for however long it takes to get in, it takes an even longer amount of time to get your food, drink, and find a place to sit.

For the three-room wide cafe, there are exits and doors that most people may not know about, including the farthest room down filled with tables and booths on the side of the wall. These doors lead outside of the cafe, one that brings you outside and one that puts you inside of Spag hall on the way down to the pub.

This issue could potentially be fixed if one of these entrances had a worker waiting to scan students in. Freshman Jeb Hogan said, “It would prevent a lot of people from sneaking in to the cafe. I think a second entrance would not just clear up space, but be beneficial to Sodexo as well.”

Matthew Vaillette, the general manager for dining and conference services, said, “I think it would be a good idea, but it’s a double-edged sword.” Vaillette said that the idea to have a second entrance to the cafe has not only been proposed to the University six years prior, but has also been tested. “The University liked the idea of a second entrance, but couldn’t fund the areas to create one entrance.”

Vaillette said that while a second entrance increased flow into the cafe, it did not improve the speed of the food being served.

Vaillette also spoke about how the cafe has 400 seats and 1,600 students to be served. Adding a second entrance he said would result in having to expand the cafe, which is cost prohibitive. “Execution wise, it would add more stress to the workers and the lines, but convenience wise, it’s a good idea” Vaillette said.

Even if the idea of a seance entrance isn’t feasible, the University must find a solution to fix the problem of overcrowding in the cafe. If funding the cafe isn’t a plausible solution, it may be time to reduce enrollment to solve the issue of overcrowding.

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