Riverside Market could get a new menu next semester. From burgers and fries to wings and pizza pies?
No, the idea of creating a pizzeria on the ground floor of Potomac Place has been scrapped. Pizza is already provided daily at Rams Den across campus. However, a menu change is bound to happen.
Updating its menu is not a new concept; the establishment has been through quite a bit of change over the years. Generally, the establishment goes through 1-2 changes per year.
Riverside is one of the most popular locations to eat on campus, although it was not built or planned to be. “It was probably built to serve only 300-350 meals a day” says Jeff Soloway, director of Dining Services for Shepherd University. However, it serves about 600 meals a day, around double what was intended. That is not accounting for the number of people who use the convenience store.
Why do so many students choose Riverside over the 3 other dining locations on campus? Some students say it is pure laziness. “Why would I walk all the way over to Rams Den when I could walk to the bottom of my building?” says Gideon Mossor, a second-year student at Shepherd.
Some students claim that the menu provided at Riverside is more palatable than Rams Den. Student comments on Yik Yak back this up. While students wonder about the next possibilities for a new menu, asking dining services what options they are considering is fruitless. They simply have not decided what lies ahead in the future. The top priority is student feedback; there would not be a change without taking students’ opinion into consideration.
No one is sure about what the new concept will be, whether it is expanding Fresh Taste, bringing back an old concept, or something entirely different. What we do know is that students will be at the forefront of decision making.
There is no one person who decides what is served on campus. When students were asked about what they would like to see at Riverside, they wanted healthier options. “The Executive Chef came up with options, the students tried different food. We took feedback and based on the feedback and thoughts and ideas that’s how we put a menu together.” says Soloway. Fresh Taste was created from student demand and feedback.
Another way that students can provide feedback directly to dining services is through their online feedback service. Students can rate their visit and write a summary of their opinions. There are QR codes with the link posted at each dining location across campus.
Fresh Taste is an original creation from Head Chef Ben Fogtman of Shepherd University. What most students and faculty don’t know is Riverside’s B+F is owned by Aramark. Aramark oversees the Dining Services of the University, each of the four dining locations on campus. Aramark owns concepts for their kitchens, some original and others bought. There are multiple B+F locations across the world.
“Whether it be an internal Aramark brand or an external like Chick-fila or Subway, something that we bring in, because we work with a lot of big national companies. If they’re brands you have to use the menu they have set up.” says Soloway.
When Aramark decides to bring in an external company, there are negotiations about terms. This can take time, from weeks to months. It is unlikely that Dining Services will choose to go this route with the menu changing at Riverside. An internal company is easier to implement and makes the implementation fast and smooth.
Whether the company is internal or external, Aramark will make sure the next Riverside menu update is student tested and majority approved.