Food for Thought: The TCU Dining Committee

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     The TCU Dining Committee’s weekly meetings include more than just conducting business – they get to explore different aspects of TCU’s dining services around campus as well.

    The committee participates in meetings and engages in hands-on activities within the different food services at TCU, Director of Operations for TCU Dining Services Michael Dahl said.

    Dahl said the location of the meetings often change because they try to fit in a tour or an interactive food service experience every other week. This semester, the committee has rolled sushi at Sushi Mama, toured the kitchen facilities in the Brown-Lupton University Union, worked in the Big Purple Truck and worked in Chick-fil-A.

    The committee does occasionally have traditional-style meetings, however. For these, they gather in the private dining area in Market Square.

    Dahl said the committee discusses “anything and everything related to dining.” Topics include planning menu calendars, discussing special events and creating marketing strategies.

    During their last meeting the committee discussed details for the Breakfast for Dinner event, having Italian food for the Thanksgiving meal, changes to next years meal plans and the plans to revamp the patio areas in Market Square.

    The committee is also responsible for employee recognition within the dining services departments. They promote the ‘thank you’ sticky notes in Market Square, and they pick the Employee of the Month, Dahl said.

    He said the meetings help to bridge the communication gap between the staff and the students. He said the core function of the committee is providing the students with a voice.

    “This is their dining hall, this is their space,” Dahl said. “We listen.”

    James Powers, resident dining manger and retail manager for TCU Dining Services,   reinforced the importance of having the students’ input.

    “[The students] influence so much,” Powers said.

    Powers described how the TCU Dining Committee proposed the idea of bringing Chick-fil-A to campus and how the committee made sure the idea became a reality. Powers also mentioned how the committee suggested the concept of a custom pizza making process, similar to Pie-Five, which will be an upcoming feature to Union Grounds.

    Powers agreed with Dahl about the value of having students engage with Dining Services. He said having student participation not only in meetings but other dining service activities as well, serves as an asset to the Divining Services’ work. 

    “Getting [students] out and all over the place also kind of helps [the staff] identify things they would like to change,” Powers said.

    He said students and Student Government Association representatives attend the meetings alongside resident dining staff and retail staff members. Powers said the meetings “give us a way to see the ideas of the students and what they want.”

    Tori Bertschy, sophomore business major and dining services chair said, “I think a lot of people do have feedback on the dining services, and that they could be a lot more informed if they did come to the meeting and give feedback and input.”

    She said the committee serves campus as a way to hear what students want and to meet students’ needs, whether at Union Grounds, Sushi Mama, the library or Market Square.

    The committee is an outlet where new concepts can be developed and brought to campus, like their efforts to bring Chick-fil-A to TCU, Bertschy said.

    The dining committee meetings are held at 4 p.m. every Monday, and all students are welcome to attend.

    To find out more about the dining committee or to keep up with meeting locations check out their Twitter @tcudiningcommit or Instagram @tcudiningcommittee or email tori.bertschy@tcu.edu.

    The committee’s next gathering will meet at Amon G. Carter Stadium to tour the stadium’s food services facilities Nov. 18.