FӧD provides made-to-order food to university students

Samantha Mathewson

The University of New Haven now houses the fourteenth FӧD dining hall in the country.

Annalisa places her first order in the new FӧD system (Charger Bulletin photo)
Annalisa places her first order in the new FӧD system (Charger Bulletin photo)

FӧD by Sodexo stands for Food on Demand and delivers a restaurant style dining experience. It operates on a touch screen ordering system, allowing students to customize their meal and create endless combinations.

“It is restaurant quality,” said Daryeal Murphy, food services manager for Sodexo at UNH. “Everything is prepared here, nothing is frozen, and the chicken (for example) is proportioned and cooked fresh every day.”

FӧD is located in Westside Hall, and opened to the campus community Monday, Oct. 6; however, a selected few were invited to FӧD’s Golden Ticket preview event held Friday, Oct. 3, as a test run and tasting of the new food options.

“I was completely surprised with the food at Westside,” said junior Annalissa Berardinelli. “It was above and beyond my expectations. I think Sodexo is really trying to fit the needs of the students on campus. We are lucky to be 1 of 14 schools that have meals cooked to our order. I recommend the Killer French fries.”

The difference between the dining hall in Westside and The Marketplace in Bartels is that the food served in Bartels is batch cooking, while the food served in Westside is cooked as ordered.

“The food is the same, it is just prepared differently. In Bartels, we just don’t have the time to grill all the chicken individually (as ordered). The food is even plated to be appealing to the eye,” said Murphy, noting the ceramic square plates.

Students and guests are required to swipe their ID or pay when entering the new dining hall before ordering. They are also given a beeper that is synced to their order number to alert them when their order is complete.

Upon ordering, you are prompted to select an appetizer, entrée, side and desert. Additionally, while you wait there is a complementary salad bar and soup station. A drink, and refills, are also included in your meal.

“One swipe includes everything,” said Murphy.

While you are waiting, there are TV screens located throughout the dining hall that show your meal’s progress and how many minutes are left until it is ready.

“I have a seven to eight minute goal cook time,” said Murphy, “but I told my cooks they should have the food ready in four minutes.”

Murphy explained the new cooking procedures are more labor intensive than that of Bartels, so cooks for the Westside dining hall were selected based on a practical cooking test where they were critiqued on their food presentation, time, recipe and sanitation.

There are four meal plan options for UNH students, all which allocate a certain number of swipes for the new FӧD reasturant style dinning in Westside.

  Killer fries appetizer paired with a specialty pizza the desert of the day. (Photo provided by Sodexo)
Killer fries appetizer paired with a specialty pizza and the desert of the day. (Photo provided by Sodexo)

The Charger Unlimited Gold meal plan allows unlimited access to board meals, plus $525 dining dollars. This plan allows students to swipe their card 14 times per week for breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday and brunch and dinner on the weekends at the Marketplace or FöD. The Charger Unlimited Blue (FӧD) meal plan allows unlimited access to board meals, plus $200 dining dollars. This plan will allow students to swipe their card 19 times per week for breakfast or dinner Monday through Friday and brunch and dinner on the weekends at FöD or The Marketplace. For lunch, if students wish to use a card swipe they have to eat at FӧD, while if they wish to use dining dollars, they would have to eat at Bartels.

The Charger Flex 100 meal plan for students living in apartment style housing with full or partial kitchens only includes 100 meal swipes per semester, plus $825 dining dollars. All 100 swipes can be used at the Marketplace or 75 swipes at the Marketplace and 25 swipes at FöD. The Charger Flex 150 meal plan allows 150 meal swipes per semester, plus $700 dining dollars and provides the option of using all 150 swipes at the Marketplace or 125 swipes at the Marketplace and 25 swipes at FöD.

Westside’s dining hall has the same hours as Bartels’, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week, and brunch and dinner on the weekends; however, it also features a late night option and re-opens for students from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The late night option will require students to pay using their dining dollars, cash or credit card only.

“I think it is a new, fresh taste for the campus and I am very excited to see it,” said Richard Rotella, president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association.
Murphy explained that this new option is very open to student and guest suggestions in deciding what to take out or add to the menu mid-semester.

“It (Westside) is a restaurant,” said Murphy. “The only difference is you are the server and the guest.”

The new dining hall even features a new method of cleanup, with a conveyer belt for students to put their dishes on instead of scraping and sorting them before returning them in Bartels.

“I am very excited. It’s come out great. We have our work cut out for us to produce the same quality, but my guys are good,” said Daryeal. “I anticipate smooth and successful operation throughout the semester.”