Hot breakfast. Check.
Blue Plate Specials. Check.
Tacos. Pizza. Chicken nuggets. Check. Check. Check.
While students are experiencing changes in campus dining during the pandemic, thanks to the hard work and determination of Peddie Food Service (PFS), some beloved traditions remain. And, renewed enthusiasm from PFS abounds.
“They’re pumped,” said Director of Food Service Robin Wojcik of her team.
Adapting food service to prioritize public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing effort at Peddie since March. The new food service model, which emphasizes physical distancing, frequent sanitation, and speedy service, has received a ringing endorsement from local government.
“We walked the Board of Health through our plan for each meal, and we got five gold stars,” said Wojcik. “Not only are we complying with the CDC, but we are going above and beyond.”
The new model also meets individual dietary requests. “That will continue,” said Wojcik. “If somebody has special dietary needs, we’re here to take care of that.”
We walked the Board of Health through our plan for each meal, and we got five gold stars.”
PFS will serve a hot breakfast in the dining room, while carryout options are available at the snack bar.
“When you want your eggs and your hash browns or whatever, you’ll get a plate, we’ll serve you, and then we’ll give you a roll-up (sterilized utensils wrapped in a napkin),” said Wojcik.
Like all campus facilities, Peddie has configured the dining room with social distancing in mind. There are only three chairs to a table, rather than eight, and extended seating is available on the patio under a newly erected tent.
PFS is utilizing the snack bar (not open for retail sales) for to-go breakfast options. “If a student needs a bagel or a muffin, or is running late, there will be some cold items to grab n’ go,” Wojcik said.
By far the most attended meal service at Peddie, lunch is now strictly a grab n’ go affair. Students can pick up their lunch at the dining hall, while faculty and staff service is located in the snack bar.
Four lines lead to the same selection of sandwiches, salads, fruit, snacks and a pre-packaged dessert. At the beginning of each line, students grab a bag containing utensils and napkins.
Similar to breakfast, seating is available in the dining room and outside. Additional service and seating will be provided in the Masland Room and Athletic Center as needed.
Wojcik appreciates that students may miss popular meals like chicken nuggets and pizza. “But we’re going to have those things available at dinner time,” she emphasized. “As we go along, if we can tweak lunch to be more than sandwiches and salads, we’re going to do our best. But we have to see how this all works out first.”
According to Wojcik, dinner replaces lunch as a much more elaborate affair.
“We’re going to serve some of the fun things for the kids at night, along with a serious dinner. They can have chicken piccata, and maybe we’ll also have hot dogs available. Just so that they can get their kid-friendly things in, like tacos, chicken nuggets and pizza. The things that they really like.”
“We are also going to have the Blue Plate Special a couple of nights a week, which we used to do at lunchtime,” she added.
A shared responsibility
Wojcik said that PFS staff are getting accustomed to doing things differently under the new food service model, and have also stepped up to assist other departments. “My staff understands that it’s a new dawn, a new day.”
For example, Wojcik has stationed staff in seating areas to clean them immediately after diners leave. “We used to wait until the end of a service,” she said. “We can’t do that anymore.”
Over the summer, PFS staff were instrumental in helping to clean dorm rooms. They also worked with facilities, and the alumni & development and technology departments. “It gave them a chance to shine,” said Wojcik. “And truly, they were smiling. They were happy.”
Wojcik emphasized that the new food service model relies on a sense of shared responsibility from the Peddie community. “This is not going to work unless everybody gets on the bandwagon. We want to see everyone as pumped as my folks.”
Served in the dining hall
Seating available in the dining hall and the outdoor tent
Grab n’ Go breakfast
Served in the snack bar
Grab n’ Go lunch
11:30 am-1:30 pm
Served in the dining hall (Masland Room and Athletic Center as needed)
Staff and faculty service at the snack bar
Lunch options will be the same at each location.
Served in the dining hall with additional seating on the patio
- Wear your masks as you travel through the facility.
- Keep physical distance (six feet minimum) while waiting on line and once inside the serving area and dining hall.
- Wash and sanitize your hands before entering the dining hall.
- Bus your dishes to the tray return area if eating inside, or to the tent’s bus station.
- Dispose of your garbage responsibly.
- Follow the traffic pattern once inside the Student Center. There is only one way to enter into the serving area and one way out. When leaving the dining hall, you must exit through the doors in the back of the dining hall.
- Do not leave any backpacks in the hallway. We need to keep that pathway open.