Sodexo Improves Your Dining Experience, One Cactus At A Time

Not to be outdone by the new map at the International section
By Elena Meuse

Caf food

Forbes recently ranked Fordham University as the seventh most expensive university in the country. With combined tuition and room board costs for the 2012-2013 semester being $56,370, this information is not surprising. However, this is not the only list Fordham has made it on recently. This pricey institution which we all surrender tens of thousands of dollars to recently topped a Princeton Review list for being the college with the worst food in America. It seems rather ridiculous that with such steep tuition, food quality is so poor. It’s clear there’s a problem when people would rather just make a bowl of Ramen than subject themselves to the Sodexo-catered disaster that is our cafeteria. It’s a well- known fact that the food here sucks, and Fordham suffers notoriety for it. Yet, now with such a disappointing ranking shaming the school, Sodexo seems to have finally sprung into action. In an attempt to help shake the horrible infamy of “The Marketplace,” the Fordham cafeteria has undergone several changes over the past year… which ironically enough have nothing to do with the food.

Admittedly there have been some changes. (The sandwich station got shredded lettuce!) However, these changes are few and far between the constant aesthetic additions being made to our beloved caf. New decorations seem to appear everyday, with the addition of various colorful posters and exotic plants intended to help improve the overall “dining experience.” Possibly most exciting is the new cactus wearing a sombrero and festive scarf that stands guard over by the burrito station. In addition to the lovely cactus, there is now a classy new roof over the sandwich station which appeared upon the return from break. Also new and expensive are the numerous flat screen televisions sprinkled throughout the vicinity. Each displays what delicious food is being served at various stations… even the ones that serve the same exact food everyday.

Of course decorating is not the only thing Sodexo has been doing. They’ve been moving things around a lot as well. The cookies can now be found over by the sandwich station and smoothies have been moved out in the open so people do not have to stand in line to have them poured. In addition to moving furniture, some stations have been renovated to provide more choices. For instance, the pasta station was redone giving us the nearly overwhelming choice of determining which shape of noodles we desire. And let’s not forget that random display of stale bread which appears from time to time.

Not really.
Not really.

The problem with all these changes is that while they may make the dining experience more convenient and provide more choices, they do nothing to improve the actual food quality. While it is now easier than ever to get a smoothie, that does not change that fact that it’s just slushy fruit pulp. Although a giant plastic cactus grabs people’s attention, it cannot distract from the fact that the rice in the burritos is practically impossible to chew. And putting a map up in front of the international station does not make the food any more ethnic. Students on campus pay $2,582.50 per semester for food that continues to be disappointing quality, while money that could be allocated to something useful is instead being spent on ludicrous decorations that simply do nothing to help make the food more edible.

Therefore the question remains why has next to nothing been done to make cafeteria meals less revolting. Why just move things around and put random plants everywhere? It seems one of two things are possible. Either Sodexo is hopelessly confused or they think the students are. Perhaps they are taking the “McCafe approach” and think creating a fancier looking venue will fool civilians into believing their food is fancier as well. I mean, if my sandwich is made under a delightful canopy of ornate lights, the atmosphere may in some way magically transform the sandwich… Or it could just still be terrible. Maybe properly feeding people takes too much effort compared to some simple home improvement. That way, they can still claim to have done something, just not something anyone actually cares about. However, before condemning Sodexo for their perceived trickery, we must consider the other possibility. Sodexo could possibly be acting out of the goodness of their hearts. Maybe they really just have absolutely no idea what to do to improve conditions and simply have a deep love of cactI that they believe everyone else shares.

In the end, if you look past the bamboo, fancy looking cheese, and all the other bullshit, we’ve still got the exact same cafeteria we started with. The “Marketplace” still relies upon chicken fingers and breadsticks to pacify the masses, feeding desperate students who have no other options. Sodexo should stop messing around and do something about its food. (Also no one’s drinking those weirdly flavored waters so just give up on that one.) If Fordham doesn’t get its act together and improve its food quality, it is almost guaranteed to retain its title as being the university with the “worst food in America.”

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