T-Room sees record crowds

Hannah Fowl/The News Students wait in long lines to get food and checkout during the T-Room’s peak lunch hours.
Hannah Fowl/The News Students wait in long lines to get food and checkout during the T-Room’s peak lunch hours.

Hannah Fowl/The News
Students wait in long lines to get food and checkout during the T-Room’s peak lunch hours.

During Summer Break, Dunker’s Deli relocated to the Thoroughbred Room, Market ‘22 appeared in its former place.

Paula Amols, director of Dining Services and Racer Hospitality, said Dining Services did not want to do away with something that was working, but healthier food options available on campus are in high demand.

Market ‘22, which features fresh sushi, salads, sandwiches, fruits and vegetables, offers for grab-and-go dining. Many of the healthy snacks and treats served are unique to Market ‘22.

Amols said the name of the new dining facility is homage to the establishment of the University in 1922.

Katherine Hollar, junior from Mt. Vernon, Ind., said she didn’t think Dunker’s shift into the T-Room was a good idea.

“The wait for food is getting longer and longer. I’ve had to wait up to 45 minutes,” she said.

Hollar used to work in the T-Room and said she has never seen it as busy as it has been this semester.

Amols said that service in the T-Room suffers due to staff problems. She said oftentimes students will start working on campus but then a few weeks into the semester realize they can’t work due to their course load.

“We have sufficient scheduling, but unreliable workers,” she said.

Hollar said during her time working at the T-Room it was a rarity that anyone would call in and even if they did, someone was always called in to cover the open shift.

“Everyone worked hard and did their best at their jobs,” she said. “It was overwhelming when big groups of people came in together, but everyone did what they needed to do to get the work done.”

The decision to combine the T-Room and Dunker’s Deli was for the convenience of the students, Amols said.

Now to place an order at the deli, students are required to fill out an order form and turn it in to a worker.

“This method saves time and cuts down on labor,” Amols said.

Danice Leach, senior from Louisville, Ky., said the flow in the T-Room is horrible and that the line for the deli blocks the main entrance and the beverage counter.

“There’s also never been enough seating and The Stables should be opened,” Leach said.

Seating in the T-Room usually fills up quickly, but The Stables is now open for overflow.

During the first week of classes, The Stables was reserved by Public Safety and Emergency Management to issue parking permits.

The stairs to The Stables are located in the T-Room and there will be signs posted, Amols said.

“We like to think we did our best to please everyone,” Amols said. “It’s definitely busier!”

She said business sales for the T-Room are exceeding the sales from last year.

Erica Fort, senior from Terre Haute, Ind., said her experience in the T-Room has been incredibly crowded.

“The main line goes all the way to the ice cream cones,” she said. “They should have put Market ‘22 in the Thoroughbred Room and left Dunker’s Deli where it was.”

Fort said at peak hours she has had to wait up to 30 minutes for her order.

“Having to wait 30-40 minutes for simple orders is way too long,” said Steven Newcomb, senior from Murray.

As a short order cook from The Hungry Bear, a local restaurant, Newcomb said he empathizes with the workers.

Kelly Kennedy, manager of the T-Room, attributed long wait times to normal first of the year problems.

“The student workers do not have an opportunity for advanced training,” she said. “Their first day on the job is also their first day of classes.”

Kennedy said she is confident the service in the T-Room is rapidly improving as the year progresses.

“We’ve got a lot of the kinks worked out,” Kennedy said. “The wait time at Dunker’s Deli is at seven minutes. 75 percent of our workers are from the student body.”

She said Dining Services is short-staffed, but they are hiring more student workers to help.

 

Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, Staff writer