I Ate at a Different Sodexo Location Every Day and This is What Happened

Glenn Rohrbacker

With recent efforts to bring to light the inefficiency of Sodexo’s food service, I decided to go to each place on campus and really see where all the complaints are coming from and what the real issues are.

Day 1: WOW Café

I went to WOW on Monday and ordered something a little different than I usually do. First, I waited in a line that wasn’t that long for about 15 minutes before I ordered. After that, within 3 minutes my food was ready. I would like to point out, that this is the first time it has ever been delivered quickly. My friends have waited almost 20 minutes to get what I ordered that day. However, when I got my food, the sweet potato fries were way undercooked, resembling a bright orange color with little to no signs of being fried. Oh, and there was a hair in them. It may very well have been mine, but it was still a red flag. The quesadillas I ordered were actually pretty good, even though they were only about two-thirds filled. Overall, it wasn’t too bad of an experience, but there are definitely things that can be worked on.

Day 2: Food On Demand

On Tuesday, I went to FoD, despite recent evidence that there has been mold on some of the bread there. Nervousness aside, I got my usual, disappointed in the lack of variety in the choices. With only three salads, two sandwiches, and the usual choice of burger, FoD is not really the place for a picky eater like myself. This trip, I got a cheeseburger and fries and there were no real issues with it. The burger was a little dry, but all in all a good meal. My appetizer (which is a generous word for it) was the mozzarella sticks. At FoD, this means two solid pieces of cheese surrounded by a fried triangle. This wasn’t the worst experience I’ve had at FoD, considering I only waited about 10 minutes, compared to multiple times I’ve waited 20, 30 or 40. However, I think there are obvious changes that need to be made, especially with some of the food options and cooking.

Day 3: The Marketplace

Yes, Bartels, infamous for stomach aches and the lack of quality food. Well, today was no different and, in fact, it seemed a little more chaotic.     There were no more to-go trays or regular plates, so everyone had to use paper plates. But aside from these clerical issues, there was the usual options with no real variety. The only fresh food is fried or filled with salt. The pasta is stale, the “homemade” section is far from it, and I was forced to stick to my usual chicken nuggets – which now have to be served to students instead of helping themselves. The best part about Bartels is that I can get my food and leave.

Day 4: Sandellas

Sandellas is usually my go to place when I want some good food. The usual couple of things I get are made pretty well and I like them. My small issue is the fact that every time I order something, it’s made differently. One day, my Buffalo Panini will be stacked to the edge, and another it’ll be barely filled. One day, it’ll be burnt, and another day it will be soft. Other than the fact that they don’t use white meat chicken, the problem with Sandellas is the service. Going there is a timely investment when it takes 15 minutes to make one person’s food and they’re the only one ordering. I don’t know if it is because they are always understaffed, the workers just don’t care, or the food is just that hard to make.

Day 5: Jazzman’s

I went to Jazzman’s for lunch one day this week, and the result is similar to Sandellas: I can usually count on good food, but the service is concerning. During lunch time, if you’re lucky, the line usually wraps around the tables and the vending machines, causing a frenzy in the middle of Bartels. There was one person at the register, coming in and out while doing other things. Then, you had to wait again for your sandwich (thankfully I didn’t order one). Another good thing about Jazzman’s is that it’s one of the only reasonably priced places on campus. It’s encouraging for me to continue to go to Jazzman’s when I’m not spending a fortune on a sandwich or a salad.

As you can see, the Sodexo places on campus all have a lot of things they can improve on. Keep in mind, this is just my account of one week, but also put into account the many times I’ve eaten at these places and I understand that this may not be everyone’s experience. I hope that at least some of these changes can be dealt with for the good of the student body at UNH.