Forget John, dear Jeff:
In the wide world of the food service industry, comment cards are typically only filled out by angry customers upset over a bad meal or poor customer service.
However, here at Castleton in Huden Dining Hall, they are filled out for all sorts of reasons.
Jeff Kurto, the general manager of Sodexo, said they get over 400 cards a semester that they are 50 percent positive, 40 percent negative and 10 percent goofy.
Almost all get posted on a board in the dining hall. Some cards are serious, like the ones asking to make Sunday a day for sundaes, for other fruit for the yogurt besides melon or for thanking the staff when they serve a good meal.
Negative comments included undercooked rice and that not everyone wants their food to have a lime taste to it.
As for the goofy ones, there’s one asking for stoner brownies and another from someone calling himself Silent Bob, left completely blank.
“It’s a good way to communicate,” said Kurto of the cards.
Kurto said that communication has certainly helped saying the staff has made many changes on campus based on the cards like which hard ice cream flavors to get, which things to add to the deli like cheeses or cabbage and a decision to serve plain yogurt to go along with the berry yogurt because one student wrote of an allergy issue.
Students say they also value the opportunity to weigh in on what they eat.
“I think the more connected Sodexo is to the dining hall, the more people are proud to take ownership of it being part of our school,” said sophomore Kevin Santora.
Kurto said the company policy is to only have three cards out at a time, but he said that there are just so many cards that he has to put more of them up. Kurto said he spends probably an hour and a half a week reading over the cards and said the staff reads them as well.
“I read all of them, 1 percent might not make it out there…anything offensive to my staff or overly vulgar,” he said.
That level of response is not lost on some here on campus.
“It shows Sodexo does care about (the cards),” said Santora.
Of course, there are some cards with suggestions that just are not possible, like the usual card asking for Honey Nut Cheerios, which is simply not possible due to the possible cross contamination with the other cereals possibly causing someone to have an allergic reaction.
“There’s something’s I can’t do,” said Kurto.