New Dine Online Feature Stretches Food Staff Thin
by James Leonard | Staff Writer
SCRANTON – The University of Scranton now offers an option for students to order meals from the comfort of their beds, congruent with a slew of activities that have taken online or virtual approaches in the past year.
The Transact Mobile ordering app now allows students order meals online for in-person pickup. While the students who utilize the service say they enjoy it, staff have a lot more work on their hands.
Kenyetta Brown, who works at the Mulberry P.O.D., said there is certainly an increase in the work she has to do with the new implementation of the online ordering system.
“I not only have to tend to the kids on line here, but I also have to juggle the online orders that keep flooding in,” Brown said. “My coworker Jason works overtime a lot to assist in helping with the online orders after his stocking shift ends.”
Despite an increased workload this semester, Brown remains optimistic about her current situation.
“The school decided that this would be a good idea to implement into our system and the students seem to love it,” Brown said. “Some days the online orders are not that busy and other days it is very hectic.”
The Mulberry P.O.D food vendors are now closed from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, which gives Brown a slight breather with only the convenient store section remaining open during that time.
“The kids don’t like it but it gives everyone a break after the lunch rush,” Brown said. “They get to leave and I have to stay here and watch over the place. I don’t get a long break like that.”
With the limited amount of hands on deck to assist with the influx of online orders, Brown said she still has a job to do, and enjoys doing it.
“At the end of the day I’m doing it for the kids,” Brown said. “Overall, it’s all good, we just need more people.”
Ordering Online: Love It Or Hate It?
On the contrary – students on campus seem to be enjoying the convenience of being able to order online. Junior occupational therapy major Marnie Monahan raved about the new Transact Mobile Ordering app.
“My friend and I use it sometimes to grab dinner and it makes things a lot easier,” Monahan said. “It feels safer than standing in line with a ton of people – COVID wise.”
Junior criminal justice major Aidan Noble said he has mixed feelings toward the new mobile ordering system.
“I haven’t used it yet, but I don’t understand why people who order online get to go ahead of the people who are there ordering in person,” Noble said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Head of Dining Services Joseph Boyd said University food and customer services gave the go-ahead for the implementation of the new Transact Mobile Ordering app because of overcrowding concerns in the dining areas throughout campus. He said it was put in place during the colder months, while dining outdoors is not a viable option.
“It is a big change from before,” Boyd said. “One of the biggest ones would be you have a customer standing in line to be waited on and a ticket comes out of the printer, which one should we take care of first? The online order or the student right in front of you?”
Despite some kinks that still require ironing out, Boyd continuously praised the staff for their ability to quickly adapt as well as their excellent customer service thus far.
The idea of having mobile food ordering on campus is not as new an idea as one might think. Rather, the app has been years in the making.
“The University and Dining have been talking about this application over the past couple years,” Boyd said. “The fall semester of 2020 gave us the push we needed to implement the program.”
Filling Orders… And Shifts
Boyd said they have been trying to hire more employees to help with the increased workload this semester. He has even been working at the Chik-fil-A station himself during lunch.
Dining services are offering students jobs for $10 per hour, along with a $200 bonus for students who work the whole semester and free food while working, according to Boyd.
The mobile dining service will still be offered even after COVID-19 subsides.
“We are always open to suggestions to better enhance the customer service experience on campus for mobile ordering,” Boyd said.
Students may contact Boyd at email@example.com with any further