Food Services managers address food shortage concerns, seek student workers 

Student worker Nathan Turner works as a cashier at the Village Market.
Monday, September 11, 2023 (Photo by: Ronnell Cabacungan)
Student worker Nathan Turner works as a cashier at the Village Market. Monday, September 11, 2023 (Photo by: Ronnell Cabacungan)

Written by: Lauren Arant

Some students have expressed concern about a possible food shortage on campus, but Southern Adventist University’s Food Services managers explained that the university is not short of food but of workers.

Celeste Lee, junior public relations major and freshman mentor, said some of her mentees were concerned about a scarcity of food due to the increased number of students on campus. 

“I was working in the cafeteria one morning and overheard a conversation saying that, with the amount of students here this year, there was a possibility of a food shortage at different food locations on campus,” said Alissa Flores, a sophomore at Southern.

According to Laurie Worth, the Dining Hall manager, the cafe is not at risk of a food shortage; it just needs more student workers.  

“We are fully staffed with adult, full-time employees,” Worth said. “Our student labor is still lacking.” 

Worth explained that on the first day of the semester, hundreds of students showed up at once during meal times at the Dining Hall, and staff were taken by surprise with the sudden rush of customers. The amount of food the staff needed to have prepared to feed the higher-than-average number of customers in a short period of time was unexpected, Worth said. However, any delays in the process were not due to a lack of food.

“Everybody came through [line] within the first half hour,” Worth said. “The first Monday of school, we had 457 transactions in one hour, whereas last year we were running probably 600 transactions in three hours.”  

Since the first day, cafeteria traffic has returned to normal, and there is plenty of food for everyone, Worth said.

Kim Armstrong, the CK2 manager, said the eatery is not in danger of a food shortage, and the reason food runs out is because the staff doesn’t want any food to go to waste.

“[Students] want fresh [food] every day, so [employees] choose to prep 20 hummus delights or 18 avocado hippies because we don’t want them to sit,” Armstrong said. 

CK2 workers prepare a limited supply of certain food options, and when those options run out, the workers give customers the closest available option to what they originally ordered.  

“Right now, we’re doing really well,” Armstrong said. “I think I need two more workers just in case something happens.”

The Village Market (VM) is still struggling with a shortage of student and full-time workers, said manager Jackie Rose, causing current employees to work overtime and not receive enough vacation time.   

“We’re struggling with labor in the deli, especially,” Rose said. “We haven’t had supper in two years since COVID.” 

To be fully functional, the VM would need a full-time supper cook and floater, one part-time salad server and 10-15 other student employees just for the deli. 

According to Rose, certain needs beyond supper are unsatisfied, even with current staff making 500 sandwiches a day. 

“In the deli, we need more,” Rose said. “We can’t even keep up with sandwiches. I mean, you can only do so much, especially with limited help.”

The VM is offering $8.75 an hour to work the floor and $9.75 an hour to workers specifically in the deli section. 

Financially, the VM as a whole is doing well and staying stocked, Rose explained. The  influx of students has brought in more customers, he said, making about 25-30% of customers Southern students.

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