GARRETT DECROSTA — Staff Writer
Dunkin Donuts restaurants use the catch phrase: America runs on Dunkin. According to students at Southern Connecticut State University, that may not be the case. The students on campus at Southern have been expressing their concerns for the Dunkin Donuts in their Student Center.
On Oct. 13 in the Student Center, an open committee meeting was held to discuss the current situation of the Dunkin Donuts. Similar meetings are also held on a bi-weekly basis and students are encouraged to regularly attend. Students and staff were invited to come to the meeting and express their dining experiences with their peers and bring up any issues they may have had. Danny Dawkins is the Resident District Manager on campus and works for Chartwells, which is in charge of running and operating the dining area in the Student Center.
“I have mixed emotions about the student feedback yesterday,” he said. “I see where the concerns are at. Some of the suggested changes are within my control; some are not.”
The meeting began at 1 p.m. and lasted till around 2 p.m. Students expressed their concerns with Dawkins and shared their emotions clearly at this meeting. Destin Pervis-Pritchett, a member of the Student Government Association, was the spokesperson for the general student body at the meeting.
“I expressed how the general student population felt,” he said. “I tried to be as clear as possible in saying that we need customer service and wait time to decrease or there are going to be a lot more people showing up to those meetings. I hear it all the time.”
The Dunkin Donuts on campus has been an ongoing battle between students and employees ever since it opened. Some students and employees feel the service is good or acceptable while other students and employees feel the service needs to be improved.
“Part of my frustration is that some of the proposed ideas have already been tried and failed,” said Dawkins. “I will make myself available to any meeting because I feel that strongly about it. We will take any advice people give into consideration. The biggest thing is that we need to hear from more people about their specific concerns. Getting names, times, witnesses will help plead a better case.” (P4)
As the meeting progressed students became more comfortable with expressing how they truly felt about their experiences in the dining hall. Dawkins was more than happy to listen to the students concerns. One student explained how there should be an employee at each station doing a specific job so the food can be given to customers in a moretimely manner. The food quality is not the important issue; it is getting the customers food in their hands quickly on a consistent basis. This was more importantly emphasized during peak hours. Another student expressed how he feels that more students should work at Dunkin to increase relationships between the students and employees at Dunkin. An arguing factor into placing students onto the Dunkin staff is that Chartwells by their contract, can only clock in 150 hours for students on campus at maximum, according to Dawkins. Brad Crerar is the Director of the Student Center at Southern and attended the meeting as well to help students voice their opinions.
“I think that yesterday was the first time Chartwells really heard what the students felt,” he said. “They said they were tired of waiting in line and getting treated poorly.”
Some students believe that the friendliness is a problem while others believe it is the time it takes to get their food. The problem is not the service overall, but moreover the service during busy times.
“What students need to understand, though, is that when everyone gets out of their morning classes, it contributes to long lines at Dunkin,” said Crerar. “However, this is definitely an ongoing problem and needs to be resolved.”
Jessica Cromarty, a Sophomore English major, is a regular customer at Dunkin Donuts. She often tries to get her food and drink through the express lane. There are three lines that form at the Dunkin Donuts. The first two lines are for the ordering process. The express line is for beverages and the other line is for bagels, donuts, and sandwiches. The third line is for the pickup of the sandwiches and bagels.
“You can easily look on the counter and see how many orders they have to do,” said Cromarty. “When they have big lines there, employees are either not working or they are just standing around. It is definitely frustrating. I think they are good at taking the orders, but just not finishing them.”
Not only do some of the students feel that the service is poor, but some of the employees are displeased and unsatisfied with how customers treat them and the lack of work they put into the job as well. The employees often call out on Fridays because they get paid on Thursdays, according to Crerar.
“Most of my employees are very kind and friendly people,” said Dawkins. “I think it can go both ways though sometimes. Customers can take out their bad day on employees but other times it is definitely possible that an employee is not doing what they are supposed to be doing and disciplinary action should be taken.”
Students can voice their opinions and thoughts through the southern dining service website off of the SCSU homepage as well. From there students can put the date, time, person they spoke with, and the dining service which it pertains to.
“We have received approximately 20 comments or concerns from both our suggestion box and online,” said Dawkins. “Brad and I have been keeping up to date with that and we are more than happy to address any issues when we see evidence that of a problem. We encourage everyone to continue to provide us feedback with how we can improve this Dunkin Donuts.”
The bi-weekly meetings usually meet on Wednesdays from 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Center. Students and faculty are being encouraged to voice their opinions to further help in this constant debate between Dunkin Donuts and its customers