Where will You Have Lunch Today?
Where will You Have Lunch Today?
  • 문예원 기자, 홍소영 기자
  • 승인 2011.10.06 20:03
  • 댓글 0
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School cafeterias are used by many students. This is because they are a short distance from classrooms and offer low prices. Therefore, many students can eat there without worry. Because the cafeterias are such a large part of students’ lives it is important that the opinions of the students are considered. Students also have an obligation to use the cafeterias with good manners and express their opinions for rational consumption. In order to help achieve this, The Observer conducted a survey over 4 days that involved 150 YU students from Aug 8th to the 11th, 2011. Their answers were based on their experiences during the semester, and the results of the survey were given to the cafeteria personnel.

There are 3 cafeterias on the YU campus: the Science Cafeteria, the Student Union Building Cafeteria, and the Humanities Cafeteria. Therefore, we surveyed 50 students at each cafeteria. 78 men and 72 women took part in this survey. There were 34 freshmen, 22 sophomores, 33 juniors, and 61 seniors. First, we asked the students how they chose the cafeterias they frequented. The most commonly given reasons were: proximity, their scope of activity, taste, price, hygienic conditions, and staff courtesy. Second, we asked their frequency of use at each cafeteria based on a standard of 10 visits. 3-5 times out of 10 was the most common response, followed by 1-2 times, 6-7 times, more than 7 times, and 0 times. Third, we inquired about their satisfaction level. Finally, we asked how they would like to see each cafeteria improve. In response to this question, many students answered that they wanted to be provided with a diverse menu, cheaper prices, and good food at a reasonable price.

The Science Cafeteria
The Science Cafeteria is opposite the Science Library. The site is used by about 2,000 students a day. The company that operates this cafeteria is “MJ food” and the cafeteria takes up three floors. The first floor is for faculty, and it is buffet style. The price is 4,000 won a meal. Most students use the second floor, which sells student favorites like pork cutlet. The third floor is a food court. Therefore, there are many restaurants such as PANDA’S (Chinese restaurant), Caffe bristot (Coffee shop), WOK N BOX (Thai restaurant), The Toms (Pizza & Pasta restaurant) and Chicken Waltz (Chicken restaurant). One of the Science Cafeteria’s unique features is it operates a website (www.119food.kr). Students can collect points and accept offers for a variety of events on this site. Another feature is that it offers unique menu choices like ‘Butadon.’ During the past summer vacation, they also sold handmade hamburgers for the first time on campus.
Based on the information we got from the students’ surveys, we asked questions to the managers of each cafeteria.

Ji-Hyun Yu, Nutritionist & Sung-Su Park, Food Service Industry Professor and Director
Q) What is your primary focus?
A) We try to offer students their favorites. Hygiene is also an important matter of course, but basically we regard the taste of the food as being most important.
Q) Do you have any requests for students who use the Science Cafeteria?
A) I hope students consume rationally. There are discount coupons on our homepage, but many students are not aware of that. It is impossible to satisfy every student, but we try to respect the opinions of the majority. Sometimes, a few students spread bad rumors about our cafeteria, but we hope they give us their input via the homepage instead. We are ready to consider their advice.
Q) Many students expressed a desire for lower prices. What do you think about that?
A) We are always concerned about prices because this is a service for students. We do not raise the prices of existing menu items. In the case of tteokbokki we serve a rice ball or a sandwich with it, not just tteokbokki. Therefore, to improve the quality and quantity of foods we have to maintain current prices. If we don’t, managing the facility becomes difficult. However, if the volume of students that use this facility increases, we can lower the prices accordingly.

The Student Union Building Cafeteria
There is also a cafeteria located on the first floor of the Student Union Building. The site is used by about 2,200 students a day, and it is run by Shinchun. The cafeteria is divided into basic cafeteria service and a general restaurant. The former offers basic menu choices as you would find in a regular high school cafeteria. The general restaurant includes a cafe. This cafeteria’s distinctive feature is an event it runs during exam periods. During this time, they offer free food such as sandwiches, milk, and coffee in front of the library for a week and they extend their service time. Furthermore, on special days like White Day, they provide food with a present.

Byeong-Gi Park, Director
Q) What is the focus of this restaurant?
A) We think everything is important, but we especially concentrate on hygiene. The most important thing in institutional food service is providing safe food, so we cannot neglect hygiene. If we are even a little careless about hygiene, the food could be unsafe. Safety is as important as the satisfaction of the students.
Q) Do you have any requests for students that use the Student Union Building Cafeteria?
A) We want students to observe small things such as disposing of leftovers, pushing in chairs, and disposing of garbage in garbage cans.
Q) The survey results show that many students are not satisfied with the menu. What do you think about that?
A) We realize that our menu is not as diverse as some students would like. It is difficult to manage more choices given the volume we deal with. However, if students request other menu items, we will consider it.
Q) The survey also showed that the main reasons students go to this cafeteria is accessibility and price. However, prices are rising. Is there any way to maintain low prices?
A) The price of side dishes has soared from the second half of last year, but we only raised the price of prok cutlet earlier this year. Of course students feel it is a big issue, because prok cutlet is the most popular menu. The price of pork has risen more than two times this year. The rise in the price of pork cutlet is inevitable due to the rise in the price of pork, so we hope students understand. We know one of the reasons that students come to our cafeteria is low prices, so we always try to improve the distribution structure system and find ways to purchase various ingredients.
Q) The survey also showed that the primary reason students do not go to this cafeteria is the taste of food. Can you improve the problem?
A) It is a concern for every restaurant to provide good tasting food at a low price. Food and personnel expenses rise every year, so it is quite hard to maintain quality without raising prices. However, we are constantly trying to improve the taste of our food and keep costs down in various ways.

The Humanities Cafeteria
The Humanities Cafeteria is located behind the General Lecture Hall next to the baseball park. During the semester, about 2,000 students use it per day. The company that runs this cafeteria is Mosim. The Humanities Cafeteria is divided into three floors. The first floor is the student restaurant, and it sells basic cafeteria style food and bowls of rice served with various toppings. The second floor serves special meals and is named the Sky Garden. It sells beverages, Italian food, pork cutlets, seasonal selections, and fusion food. The third floor is for the teaching staff and it sells Korean food and Western food. The menu changes daily and the price for every meal is 4,000 won. This floor is open to just teaching staff during the semester, but the other two remain open to students. This cafeteria also has a Wi-Fi Zone and outdoor parasols, so many students prefer this cafeteria.
Jin-Jou Jou, Nutritionist and Manager
Q) How do you usually decide on the menu?
A) We prepare menus suitable for the season. In winter, the menus are mainly composed of hot food such as ttukbaegi. In summer, there are cold foods such as naengmyeon on the menu. We also keep track of the menus at other universities. This semester, we will launch several new menu choices.
Q) Do you have any requests for students who use this facility?
A) Kimchi and soup are self-service, and some students take too much and then just throw it away. I hope students will only take as much food as they can finish. In addition, some students leave garbage on the table after eating instant cup ramen and kimbab. The students who want to sit there next have to throw their garbage in the garbage can.
Q) The survey results show that students are not satisfied with the position of the counter. What do you think about that? A) The position of the counter cannot be changed because of the layout of the building. It is a university building, so we cannot remodel it as we like.
Q) The survey also show that the main reason students do not go to this cafeteria is the high cost. Is there anything you can do to lower the prices?
A) We always grapple with cost because we are a university cafeteria and we try to charge the lowest prices possible. We also have a wide range of items at low and high prices, so students can select accordingly.

We discovered that there is a wide range of opinions through this survey and the interviews we conducted. Most students expressed dissatisfaction about student cafeterias, and they mainly use the cafeteria that is closest to their range of activity. The cafeteria managers we interviewed seemed to take in the students’ criticism and we hope they will react to it. Additionally, the managers expressed their desires about how they want the students to behave when they use their facilities. In order to achieve the desires of both sides, it is important to have communication and smooth feedback between students and school cafeteria management.

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