Admin, CEA team up to make necessary reform to the line system and menu


Despite crowds remaining the same, the lines now go much faster

Jack Parsons

When the controversial parking reform plan restricting students from leaving campus during lunch was first introduced in early September, concern over the already-crowded covered eating area (CEA) arose. Though unclear whether the reform will prevent any potential future issues, the administration has constructed a new plan to control crowds in the CEA while making a few minor updates to the menu.

Food Services Supervisor Lisa Herberg directs an account only line.

A key argument of the opposition seemed to be that the CEA would become too crowded and food could not be provided for the influx of students looking for a lunch alternative. This new plan will deal with the reorganization of lines and some simple changes to the current menu. Before the system was modified, students would go up to windows, order their meal and pay there. Now, the system mimics that of a buffet line, where students pick up food in a line and pay at the end. For payment types, one line caters to students with cash and one to students with accounts.

According to Principal David Sondheim, this change was necessary to speed up operations for the increased flow of students in the CEA during lunch.

“That system allows for students to get through the lines faster. This benefits students, because they will have more time at lunch, and Foodservice people because they can serve more lunches in less time,” Sondheim said.

Sondheim’s support for the system’s efficiency has proven to be valid. Before the reconfiguration, one window would serve an average of 43 students in 28 minutes, according to food Services, which handles food for Redwood, San Andreas, and Tamiscal. With the new “speed line” concept, where students pick their meal before going to pay, 90 students can be served in eight minutes.

According to Food Services Supervisor Lisa Herberg, this drastic increase in speed efficiency is due to the fact that students make their decision before getting in line to pay.

Students with accounts have the option to pay in the accounts only line.

“The line used to be really long because students would make their decision while having a long line behind them, then a server would have to leave the cashier to get the food. With this system, they can make their decision, grab the food, and then get in line to pay, which speeds everything up,” Herberg said.

Before the changes in the CEA, there were 13 available options on the CEA menu; that number has shrunk to three. Window 1 serves burgers (beef, grilled/spicy battered chicken, black bean garden) and occasionally chicken tenders. Window 2 serves various types of Pizza (cheese, pepperoni, and veggie) along with the option of a smuckers uncrustable sandwich. Window 3 serves either mandarin orange chicken or teriyaki chicken with steamed broccoli and a mixture of brown and white rice, depending on the day.

“We have three lunch employees that serve here, San Andreas and Tamiscal. Having 13 menu options was simply unsustainable, so we shrunk the menu. Once the employees learn [how to serve more menu items], we can build up from that number,” Herberg said.

Notable menu items that were omitted were cold sandwiches and salads. Despite having only three options at the moment, according to Herberg, outside food sources are being considered once the new system settles in.

“I’m getting price quotes from World Wrapps and a few other local restaurants and markets, and I am going to pick two to serve here once I get the quotes,” Herberg said.

According to Herberg, the CEA’s revenue has not changed since the implementation of the partially closed-campus policy. Although it is impossible to tell whether sourcing food from other restaurants or markets would lead to a larger customer base, Herberg is willing to take that chance. After all, the CEA is a convenient spot for lunch as it is located on campus.

Despite the stagnant revenues, regular purchasers of food from the CEA like senior Luca Traverso have noticed the change in speed and efficiency since the reconfiguration.

“At first I didn’t like the idea of having one big line to buy food in, but I have noticed that the lines actually go a lot faster,” Traverso said.