Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Students concerned about campus food supplier’s quality

Students wait in line at the Roadrunner Café for their meals. Photo Courtesy of a Brysen Streeter

Aramark, UTSA’s food supplier, has been in the middle of many conversations concerning complaints about the quality of food served at Roadrunner Café.

Aramark supplies food services to college campuses across the nation.

Megan Cole, an associate news editor of University of California Irvine’s university newspaper wrote, “Just a few violations (by Aramark) include serving inmates meals laced with maggots, dog worms, rat bitten scraps and garbage.”

Cole continued, “Dozens of American universities, however, still employ Aramark, though waves of students protests in recent years concerning campus food quality and employee welfare have threatened Aramark’s share of the higher education foodservice market.”

  Shariff Mohamed, a sophomore sports management major at UTSA, stated, “You compare (the food at the café) to high school food, so the first few times it is good. However, after a while you are like ‘why am I eating this?’”

Another concern students have is the variety of food offered at UTSA dining halls. Nathan Bellot, a sophomore Spanish major at UTSA, stated, “It’s near impossible to be vegan on campus; the few options vegetarians have are completely inaccessible to vegans, because the dining halls rely heavily on eggs and dairy. The Roadrunner Café has a salad bar, and they will occasionally put out vegan cookies,” Bellot said. “As far as food that is fulfilling and satisfying for vegans, the Roadrunner Café is lacking.”

Food sits in a greasy pan at the Roadrunner Café.
Photo Courtesy of a Brysen Streeter

Although some students like Bellot believe UTSA dining halls lack variety and quality, others think the overall quality of the food is good. Cody Rivas, a sophomore cyber security major,  and Seren Regalado, a junior History major, believe the UTSA dining halls have great quality food. Both Rivas and Regalado rated the quality of the Roadrunner Café food as “four out of five stars.” They also believe the quality of places such as Chick-fil-A, Subway and other dining hall retailers are equivalent to their off-campus stores.

UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA) President Marcus Thomas discussed his thoughts about UTSA dining halls and how the SGA could help improve them. Thomas enjoys the Roadrunner Café. “I would give it a seven out of ten, but I am not a hard person to please,” Thomas said. He also said UTSA dining halls lack food variety, especially for students who are vegan or vegetarian. If there are complaints about eateries around campus, SGA can take those complaints to UTSA’s administration to determine what is the best course of action to improve the food services.

Complaints regarding the lack of quality and variety of UTSA’s Roadrunner Café was brought to the attention of Sarah Caruso, marketing manager for UTSA Dining. Caruso stated, “UTSA Dining listens and responds to all feedback to continuously enhance for more options at the Roadrunner Café; We integrate many specific requests into our menus to accommodate student wants and needs.”

“One way we seek and encourage Roadrunner feedback is through the Napkin Talk Wall where students post comments or requests and UTSA dining responds. It’s our opportunity to integrate specific requests and deliver a menu students look forward to. Other feedback outlets are the voice of the consumer and our dining styles surveys. In terms of feedback, we’ve received comments asking for more vegan and vegetarian options,” said Caruso.

According to UC Director Herbert Ganey, Aramark plays a significant role in the quality and variety of UTSA dining halls, because they have a contract and should be held accountable for the quality of the food they serve. 

Ganey believes if Aramark cannot improve their services, then UTSA students should play a role in determining the next caterer. A suggestion by Ganey offered is if the school decides to find a new caterer, there should be an open process where vendors come in for a tasting period and allow the students to test the food and provide feedback on each vendor before a decision to hire a new vendor is made.

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