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Better training for happier customers

Courtney Brooks

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I don’t know whether the story I am about to tell is comical, frustrating, or just pretty pathetic, but either way, it is an issue that is in dire need of some attention. One of the things the University of New Haven prides itself on is all the different options it offers students for dining. No one can deny that on this campus there are plenty of places to go to eat. But how many times are we actually getting our money’s worth at these places? Well, that is to be determined, but first, here is my own personal experience.

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Just this past week, I was in the library cramming for a last minute test I had in a few hours. Around 5 p.m., the exhaustion set in (Netflix had gotten the best of me the night before and had been prioritized over sleep yet again) and I was struggling to keep my mind open. Luckily for me, UNH offered the perfect solution to my problem: Starbucks coffee right upstairs!

Or so I thought.

I headed upstairs to get my coffee and was greeted very kindly by UNH’s very own barista. I want to emphasize that she was very kind, and although she was also very inexperienced, I am not blaming her for this. I ordered a basic iced coffee, nothing fancy, no flavor shots or anything. Just coffee, ice and milk. Well, this barista clearly was not trained and right away she got flustered looking for these ingredients. I watched as she poured a cup of milk over ice and then handed me my drink. The “coffee” which I just paid $4.29 for was nothing more than a cup of milk. I felt bad though; after all it wasn’t her fault that she was left to fend for herself at the coffee stand before being adequately trained, so I gladly took my cup of iced milk and went back to my studies.

Then, after totally giving up on this test an hour later and allowing myself to be defeated by it just this once, I decided dinner was more important. I knew I didn’t have any shot at coming out of this test alive if I was starving the whole time. I headed over to Jazzman’s to get a nice tomato and mozzarella sandwich, a favorite of mine.

To my surprise, when I went to order, the employees seemed to have done a shuffle and now the barista was attending the sandwich station, again by herself. I should have just walked away, but I was literally starving, so I took my chances and ordered and paid for the sandwich. Again, that flustered look came across her face as she paced around the kitchen, clearly confused about what to do. After a few laps around the kitchen I knew what was about to occur, but I patiently waited, hoping for the best.

The barista/sandwich maker came back to me and told me that it was too late to get a sandwich. Let me point out that it was now 6 p.m. and Jazzmans is open until 9 p.m. Too late? I think not. I knew the real reason was because she was again, inadequately trained, and was not sure how to make this sandwich. But I didn’t want to be a hassle and I definitely didn’t want to embarrass her even more, so I took the bag of chips she offered me instead and went on my way.

It is safe to say that my cup of milk and bag of chips wasn’t enough to hold me over for a three hour class, and I didn’t do too well on my test. Which brings me to the real issue at hand. If UNH is going to pride itself on all the dining options, the employees should at least be trained well enough to fulfill our basic requests.

Asking for an iced coffee from Starbucks or a sandwich at dinner isn’t too much; it shouldn’t have been so difficult.

This does not say anything about the hardworking employees that attend to our restaurants on campus. They are dedicated, friendly people who really care about us students. It is not their fault that they have not received the proper training. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure whose fault it really is, but it does need to change, quickly. Students are only going to spend money at these places so long before they give up entirely and go off campus for food. It is in the university’s best interest to better train these employees.

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