Metro Diner looks to shorten waits with new employees

The Metro Diner added two employees this semester in an attempt to combat widespread student complaints of long wait times since J Street’s most popular venue opened five months ago.

University officials have worked with student leaders and Sodexo, the company that runs GW’s dining services, since November to come up with a way to cut down food service delays.

“Complaints started coming in towards the beginning of the semester,” Ben Leighton, chair of the Student Dining Board, said. “But inefficiency is common with a new operation, so we started working on it a couple of months ago.”

One of the new employees will serve as an “expediter” who will assist the cashier while alerting customers to completed orders, Leighton said.

An added employee at the grill will also seek to streamline the diner’s operations. Breakfast, previously served all day, will not be offered after 11 a.m., with the exception of make-your-own omelets.

“The complaints were mostly about long wait times at the grill and the counter being understaffed, so these changes should remedy all of the issues,” Leighton said.

With criticism arising in early September, an express lane was added two weeks after the diner’s opening for patrons picking up prepared items. But congestion continued throughout the semester due to overwhelming demand for hot food.

During its first month, the Metro Diner saw about 800 to 900 customers each day, Rich Yokeley, director of campus dining for Sodexo, told The Hatchet in September. It operated with 10 employees, increasing now to a total of 12.

Yokeley said the diner has served a consistent amount, still receiving hundreds of orders each day.

Throughout the fall semester, students reported waiting up to 40 minutes for their orders. One student, Tyler Daniels, said he was only eating there Tuesday morning because nothing else was open, but typically he’s “reluctant” to use the Metro Diner because of the wait times.

When it first opened, Yokeley told The Hatchet the diner was intended as a “fast-casual restaurant” with five- to seven-minute wait times.

Several patrons noted the difference Tuesday, saying they received their order within 10 to 15 minutes.

“They’ve always only had one person taking orders at the register, it’s definitely better with two,” sophomore Brandon Bernier said after picking up his order.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.