Lines plague J Street

A month and a half after GW Dining Services released a plan to improve J Street service, students say line times and service have not improved. But food service officials say that they cannot make changes if students do not alert them of problems.

The lines don’t seem to be getting any shorter, freshman Stephanie Owens said. (J Street employees) take their time. Obviously everybody’s got to wait a few minutes, but this is like 20-25 minutes when there’s only one person serving.

Freshman Kelly Robinson said J Street employees have not made an effort to improve the speed of service.

I think it’s kind of hit or miss with the people that serve you, she said. You wait in line for like an hour with people who don’t even care about making your food any faster. And some of the people are so rude.

The Dining Services plan released in October includes initiatives to study customer traffic, offer more pre-made sandwiches at busy lunch places such as Montague’s Deli, improve staffing layouts and add staff during peak periods, according to an Oct. 10 Dining Services press release.

Senior Food Services Director Victor Younger said Dining Services has reviewed cash register customer counts to make changes.

We’ve now implemented grab-and-go sandwiches at Provisions and Provisions Too, he said. And at Einstein’s, it was only open until (2 p.m.), after we looked at our customer participation, we saw we still had customers who wanted service so we now stay open until three.

The pre-made sandwiches have received positive responses from students, Younger said.

The buffalo chicken and the different specialty sandwiches (at Montague’s) have reduced line times tremendously, he said.

Younger also said management added two workers to Einstein Bros Bagels on the Marvin Center ground floor and one at Starbucks in J Street.

Feedback from the Dining Services Commission, a committee of students representing each area of food service on campus, has been a major tool for evaluation of J Street and other locations, Younger said

We’ve worked a lot through the DSC this year, Younger said. They’ve done surveys and brought that information back to the meetings so we could respond to some of that.

Younger said Dining Services responded to student input and added Starbucks Express at the Pan Geos Pizza station from 7 to 10 a.m. during the week.

We did that after listening to students who just wanted to get coffee and doughnuts in the morning, he said.

Some students said they think lines have moved more quickly since the implementation of the plan, but employee conduct at J Street remains a pillar of student complaints.

I’ve noticed a difference, I think it’s a little faster, sophomore Dana Borrelli said. I don’t think the people here take pride in their work. Breakfast is still really, really slow.

Others students reported no difference at all.

I haven’t noticed any improvement in efficiency especially during peak hours, senior Jeff Chatellier said. I think they definitely need more people working. If you go to a Burger King or Taco Bell outside of J Street, they’re always fast.

Sophomore David Budd said J Street management does not prepare for times when the most people dine.

While the employees stand around and talk you have to wait, he said. If you come here during busy times, they have the same amount of people (working).

Younger said employee motivation has recently become a DSC concern.

One of the things the DSC has done is they have started an employee recognition program, he said. They go around as students and evaluate employee service, and with these surveys they choose an employee of the month or week.

Younger said he is not sure when that program will begin, but some stations, such as Einstein Bros and Jamba Juice, already offer workers incentives to improve service.

If employees there do their greetings and call students by name as required they receive a (monetary) bonus, Younger said.

Younger said he encourages students to utilize outlets such as the DSC email address to voice their concerns.

Because 5,000 people go through J Street every day, when (bad experiences) happen we ask for people to respond through the Web site with a name, a number, so we know how to deal with it, he said. If you give us the feedback, we don’t sit on it.

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