XU to offer new on-campus eateries, increased dining safety measures
By Joseph Cotton
In preparation for the fall semester, Xavier dining is undergoing major changes, including the implementation of new COVID-19 safety protocols and the addition of new dining options on campus.
The Hoff Dining Commons will take on a new form than it has in the past to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
Most immediately, students will not be able to enter the caf without a meal plan and reservation, made via Xavier’s mobile ordering app, Transact Mobile Ordering. Xavier dining is planning to allow 75 people every 20 minutes with a maximum capacity of 500 patrons, according to Moran.
Director of Auxiliary Services Bill Moran acknowledged that these capacity numbers are subject to change as COVID-19 protocols are altered.
Menu offerings will also be affected. Self-service buffets, such as the salad bar, will be replaced with prepackaged options to avoid contamination from workers or diners.
Customizable stations such as the deli, pasta, and omelette line will be replaced with fixed menu selections in the interest of both efficiency and avoiding contamination.
Additionally, the tabling in the caf and the lower level of the Gallagher Student Center (GSC) has been altered to promote social distancing. Although Ohio guidelines allow up to ten people to sit at a table, Moran said the university is aiming for four people to a table. The table configurations are also set to remain in place, and are not to be moved around by patrons.
Moran explained that the caf will be closed for an hour twice a day to sanitize all surfaces. To accommodate this increased cleaning regimen, ConneX will employ six to seven new members of the cleaning staff, compared to the previous two or three staffers.
Anyone working in a dining facility will undergo temperature screening and fill out a questionnaire before their shifts. Basic personal protective equipment, including facemasks, will be provided to employees.
Moreover, mobile ordering is being expanded to include the caf – the full array of offerings will be available. Students will pick up food they order in the atrium of the caf in order to promote social distancing.
“Because we’re going to be limited on the number of people we’re going to be able to serve at a given time, there may just not be the bandwidth to get into Hoff,” Moran said. “You may not be able to get in when you want, so we wanted to offer other services.”
In an attempt to further encourage safe dining on campus, ConneX is rolling out a grab-and-go option in Conaton Learning Commons, where FreshXpress existed in previous semesters. For a meal plan swipe, students will purchase an entree, a dessert and a drink.
The grab-and-go, deli-inspired food will be provided by Jack and Olive, a subsidiary of the company that owns Chartwells. The food will be packaged at an off-campus location and delivered to campus the next day.
The underperforming All for One Subs and Blue Blob’s Diner on the lower level of the GSC will be replaced with two new eateries, Burger 513 and FujiSan.
“(Burger 513) will focus on ‘hand-pressed’ burgers, similar to Five Guys, with a thicker patty,” Moran commented. “(We are keeping) milkshakes, chicken tenders, and other things that did well as well as adding some things that we think could do well.”
“The diner was doing fairly well to begin with,” Moran said. “Right now we’re fine-tuning and making it a better version of what it used to be. It will definitely feel new and different for people.”
Despite the poor reception of the All for One Subs deli, ConneX still desired a fresh, custom and healthy option for students. They decided to partner with FujiSan, a franchising brand external to Chartwells.
With Asian-inspired food, FujiSan will offer hand-made custom sushi rolls and poke bowls, as well as some premade, grab-and-go items. Patrons will pick a base of rice, noodles or lettuce, and add fresh vegetables and fish.
ConneX also intends to continue its partner with Currito into the coming decade.
“(Currito’s) current lease expires in January 2021, but they hold two, five year renewal options,” Moran said. “We fully expect them to take the first renewal through January 2026.”
Victory Perk will remain largely the same from an operational standpoint, according to Moran, but will launch a new line of cold drinks similar to Starbucks Refreshers.
Finally, vending machines will remain operational with regular cleanings by custodial staff.
For more information and continued updates, visit Xavier Dining’s website online or on Instagram @xavierdining or @xavierconnex. Students can download Xavier’s Transact Mobile Ordering app from their mobile device’s app store.