Inside the Campus Center during, lunch and dinner hours, students line up curving off to the left of the counter, making the small space seem hectic. But the crowd isn’t from Barbara’s Place crew not caring.
Outside of the prepackaged yogurts and sandwiches, Barb’s cooks up a small amount of Mexican-American food, each item Bon Appetit claims is organic and locally grown.
It tastes good and the prices are not bad compared to Chipotle.
What is the complaint then?
Well, from speaking with several students and reading a few Facebook posts, the complaint is about time.
“It takes too long to get my food.” The complaint that nearly everyone can state at least several times in his or her life about food service.
At Barb’s they say the issues are poor communication between employees, poor training and, of course what has now become the absurd complaint of the semester, the sheer number of freshmen on campus, creating high demand for Barb’s services
Just as most facilities on campus, Barb’s hires student workers – workers, who also get that weird feeling in their stomach knowing they did not do the reading and are about to get hell from their professor.
Keeping that in mind, how are the current employees trained?
After the one training session of the semester, they use a concept called “cross-training” where each employee is suppose to guide each other when one has questions or is doing something wrong.
That is fine on the job but when the majority of the employees do not know what they are doing and are thinking of school and trying to deal with the crowds, it leaves little time for cross-training. It seems a promising but failed attempt to train.
Student workers are also shifted between Barb’s and Davenport. In Davenport, the job is simple: Wipe down a few tables, smile and take a tray. Barb’s could become a pain.
Taking tickets, making sure the supplies are not low, keep the tables and kitchen clean, with the gleaming empty eyes of hungry students lining up staring at the student workers as if they were the carne asada burrito.
It is understandable to think, “OK, maybe instead of six minutes it could take about 10.”
Even with the slight chaos that can ensue, Barb’s does a great job at maintaining a clean environment.
With the two Bon Appetit chefs in place, the food is always cooked to the proper temperature as well.
Just like any new semester, it takes each one of us time to get back into the groove of things, and Barb’s employees are the same way.
The increase in freshmen has made it slightly more difficult to get things in order at Barb’s with, at one point in the semester, experiencing a week’s drought of frappuccinos.
Now everyone is well aware of the number of students on campus and Barb’s employees have been kicked in the gut a few times. Next time a burrito and slightly sweetened, half-pump raspberry passion tea takes 15 minutes, realize the student workers want to get the order done and out just as much as you do.