Ever since Metz Culinary Management took over as Alma’s dining vendor this fall, some students have been hoping for massive improvements from Sodexo’s subpar food and services. Unfortunately for the student body, Alma’s campus has been left with few food options and few improvements have been seen.
“In this industry, it takes time to transition between contractors,” said Micah Braman, General Manager of the Food Service Management Team at Alma.
This transition has been difficult for some students because of the unpredictability of the quality of food and what’s being offered.
Part of the issue with Metz has been a lack of food choices both in Hamilton Commons and in Joe’s. After Joe’s old location was shut down due to plumbing issues, Metz had to quickly turn around and open a temporary location in the Thistle Room to accommodate students’ needs.
Despite this temporary location being opened so quickly, the lack of products in the store left students with little more than snacks and drinks to spend their Munch Money on. In Joe’s previous location, there was a variety of options available including simple grocery items, snacks and drinks.
“We’re struggling with, as the industry is, trying to find consistent products,” said Braman. Due to supply chain issues from Metz’s distributors, products like the grocery items in old Joe’s are harder to order and keep on the shelves.
I’m understanding of supply issues and how it leaves the Alma College Food Management Team with few options, but it’s difficult as a student to understand these struggles when we have gone through multiple semesters with few food options.
Also, while understanding why Joe’s is so limited in its merchandise, it has left those on the senior meal plan without many other options besides light snacks and candy. Even then, switching back to the 210 meal plan isn’t feasible for many students given the reduced meal options in Hamilton Commons.
“If I’m being honest, the quality of food isn’t fantastic,” said Faron Grossman (‘24). Although Alma students were told there would be an increase in [the] quality and variety of food, Metz hasn’t been able to deliver. “They both seemed really bad [at] the moment,” said Grossman when asked to compare Metz to Sodexo.
“I’m vegetarian and can’t eat meat. When I go to get vegetables, half of the time they’re just dripping in oil,” said Grossman. A regular meal plan at Alma costs $2,900, and yet many students are struggling to find safe and healthy meals at the only place that serves hot meals on campus.
“There was one time earlier this semester when we got lettuce from the salad bar and there were worms in it. Not just a few, it was teeming with worms,” said Grossman. This seems to have happened more than once, as videos have been uploaded to Yik Yak and shared over social media at least twice throughout the last semester.
Hopefully, with the opening of the new Joe’s-esque store in the Learning Commons, students will go back to having a variety of meal options and having more control over what they eat. However, we’ll have to wait until March 6 for this new location to officially open.
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