The Main Mess: Despite improvements in main cafeteria, changes affecting organization still needed.
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The cafeteria is an essential place where students eat and interact, and changes there affect almost everyone. An obvious change this year is the complete reinstallation of the main cafeteria, with the goal of being more modern and practical.
Many of these changes have been positive. The layout of the cafeteria, for example, while not necessarily bigger, has been adjusted so the food is served along the sides, allowing an open space in the middle where students can walk around. Meals are stationed at islands which include the Comfort Zone, Pizza Zone, Grill Zone and Creation Station. Refrigerated areas give easy access to fresh fruit and beverages. Neutral colors like blue and gray have replaced the previous reds and yellows. In addition, the menu has undergone changes. A wider variety of options allows students to have many choices of foods and beverages.
With a larger variety of meals to choose from every day, students no longer have to wait a ridiculously long time to get lunch. In addition, the cashier system is more effective. Students can easily choose the cashier with the shortest line, instead of being grounded to a single line.
However, while the new look is certainly appealing, many problems have surfaced. Due to the layout of the food stations, for example, there are no clear lines. Students randomly merge into the disorganized crowds that gather at each station. In addition, trays are hard to access. Students often have to cut through the “lines” and uncomfortably reach past legs to grab a tray. In the chaos of students trying to get trays, form lines and pay for their meals, most students are roaming for the majority of the time.
But while there are obvious miscommunications in the cafeteria planning, there are also very easy solutions to fix these problems. Dividing ropes by each station to clearly indicate where each line ends and begins could possibly be a solution to the crowding problem. Despite the lunch workers’ efforts to control the lunch line, sometimes the crowd gets too large and the staff cannot keep up. Stationing more than one cafeteria worker at a popular station, will better incorporate the cafeteria’s main goal of efficiency. Also, while the CHS Meal Viewer app is a great tool for students to see the daily menu, it often goes unnoticed. Publicizing the app or introducing an online version will help not only the students, but also the overall flow of the cafeteria.
It is important to realize that some stations in the cafeteria are more popular than the other stations. As of right now, the pizza and pasta section gets extremely crowded and unorganized during peak lunch time. Putting these sections in more open spaces will make the process faster. With these small adjustments, the overall CHS lunch experience will improve immensely.