Dining on campus looks different this semester as the University has adjusted for new health and safety protocols to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus. As a diner, you will enjoy the variety of culinary delights from the dining halls and retail dining on campus, but the way you will receive your food has been modified.
In the dining halls, safety measures include daily pre-shift health screening of staff, work schedules adjusted to allow for physical distancing and additional time for workers to clean and disinfect spaces on a continuous basis throughout the day, along with other measures.
The process begins with a touchless, tap and go experience. In North Dining Hall, for example, there is a gate system in place that will allow you to enter with your ndID card. There are no longer self-service buffets. Instead, food is served in compostable disposable food and beverage containers. In an effort to de-densify the eating spaces, students can take their meals to outside tents on North Quad and South Quad, to other tents on DeBartolo Quad, Bond Quad or to other open spaces on campus such as inside and outside Duncan Student Center, LaFortune Student Center, the Pizza Pi patio as well as residence halls.
Only those students, faculty and staff with meal plans will be able to access the dining halls. By using the ND Mobile App, you can view real time data on capacity and wait times. “This allows us to effectively manage crowd capacity, inform the guest experience and ensure physical distancing protocols happen. Further, it provides for increased speed of service,” says Chris Abayasinghe, senior director of campus dining. Throughout Welcome Week, campus dining implemented new queuing spaces and processes for both dining halls, ensuring students can move through the line in an expedited manner and also moves students out of the weather (e.g., heat, rain) immediately upon their arrival at the dining halls.
With an eye to sustainability, food containers are made with compostable content. “The desire for us with these containers is to have as small a carbon footprint as possible while recognizing the safety factor for our students,” says Abayasinghe. Additional trash containers have been placed throughout campus.
Those wanting a retail dining experience will be able to order food via the GrubHub mobile app. “The beauty of using this app is that it will alert you when your order is ready for pick up so you know when to walk into a building,” says Abayasinghe. Kiosks are also available in Duncan Student Center, LaFortune Student Center and the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. All retail outlets will also offer walk-up service.
Diners will find physical barriers at cash registers and clearly defined floor markings to encourage physical distancing and traffic flow. Additionally, everyone is encouraged to use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting all dining areas.
“Technology continues to influence the industry and at Notre Dame, we’ve thoughtfully activated technology from entering a facility to ordering ahead of time and understanding capacity and wait times. All are aimed at following safety best practices and enhancing the overall dining experience,” says Abayasinghe.