Sodexo employees reveal their feelings about working for DU students

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They see most students every day. They stand behind the glass barriers that separate them from their patrons as they prepare and present the food that is frequently a source of complaint for DU students. They are the Sodexo employees that feed and clean up after everyone without receiving much appreciation. Yet, they are there day after day.

Responsibility to their duties

“It’s a job,” says recently hired employee, Teena Harrod, who expresses her mixed feelings about her position. Harrod began working at DU in September, and while she enjoys the people she works with and has pleasant exchanges with regulars, she has some complaints. She expresses discontent with her schedule as well as frustration about some of the younger employees.

As students grumble about their food, Harrod and the other workers continue to do their job. Not every employee has the power to change the food that is served, so they do their best with what they are given.

Even so, Matt Kampmann, another employee, says that they try to satisfy the students to the best of their ability.

“We try to figure out problems, and work on everything.” The students are provided with comment cards and a comment page online to voice their protestations and suggestions. However, despite the fact that students such as Nicole Walker have criticisms such as the “vegetarian options lack[ing] imagination and diversity” the comment cards are not submitted “as much as you would think,” according to Kampmann.

Frivolous complaints

Students frequently complain to each other about their dissatisfaction with Sodexo, but do not seem to move towards changing anything. One DU sophomore and dining hall frequenter, Tanner Mastaw, was very forthcoming with complaints and suggestions. He states that while “it offers a decent variety and [he] can get creative with [his] food if [he] wants,” in his opinion “the quality is questionable.” He admits that it is “not as bad as it could be,” but he goes on to suggest a different food provider: the Bon Appétit Management Company.

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This food provider currently serves food to over 500 locations in 32 states and has been awarded for excellence in food service, ethical business practices, and excellence for service to the community. Bon Appétit specializes in sustainable food with a particular strength concerning vegetarian and vegan food. Multiple universities have switched from Sodexo with positive results, and it could be a good change.

The problem here is that students are not proactively seeking this change. They are content to criticize without requiring actual improvements. Sodexo and its workers, therefore, carry on.

Despite everything, a positive opinion

The employees do not seem to dislike their jobs. Multiple employees commented that their favorite part was their coworkers, and, despite students being discontented, most interactions directly with students have been positive. Kampmann says, “it’s a nice environment – a nice group of people.”

There have been problems there and then with management, as is inevitable with any job, according to one worker who wished to remain anonymous. She says that there are not often issues, but people don’t always agree; “there are good days and bad days.” Her main complaint was similar to Harrod’s with its regard to scheduling. Apparently she works close to full time without technically being a full time employee, costing her certain benefits of a full time position.

These employees work hard. Many of them work long hours to provide the best food that they can for little to no commendation.

The workers are not to blame

Sodexo is a large, worldwide corporation that has very consistent service across its numerous branches. The food decisions are not generally made by the people directly serving the DU populace. The people who serve the food are just employees trying to provide nutritious, yet tasteful, food as conveniently as possible. There may be changes to be made, but the students need to seriously suggest these changes, rather than flippantly mentioning them.

In the meantime, it is important to remember the hard work that is being done just to make convenient food available, and to be appreciative. Regardless of any criticisms, Kampmann asserts, “I think it’s pretty chill the way it is.”

One Response to Sodexo employees reveal their feelings about working for DU students

  • Olivia Melikian
    Olivia Melikian says:

    I really enjoyed reading your story. You bring up solid points on how the workers of Sodexo feel, as well as the lack of students’ voice to demand change. I like that you included a new possible food supplier. I also liked that your story was well written and interesting. I think that you do a good job presenting both sides of the story and remaining neutral. You have all the components and you’re formatting is good!

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