Few meals are as dismal as Saturday night dinner at the Pepperdine Waves Café. Presumably because most students flee campus on the weekends the food distributor Sodexo has the prerogative to slop down a smorgasbord of unappetizing items and call it a buffet.
Technically a burger cooked six hours before its served is still a burger; however without a serious case of the munchies they are less than appealing.
On Saturday a student expressed her initial relief at seeing “pesto penne” on the menu only to soon find a congealed mass of spaghetti awaiting her at the buffet line.
The quality of the cafeteria’s food does not match up with its ocean view. The only thing that would be worse is if “Asian Night’s” featured crickets on a stick.
The variety and quality of food served at the cafeteria is lacking every day of the week. In order to enjoy a simple bowl of cereal students must purchase 17 microscopic boxes of Total or Cornflakes.
Evidently Sodexo thinks that the perfect serving size for cereal for a four year old is comparable for a fourth-year college student. Most colleges have a large variety of cereals in tall plastic containers rather than individual boxes. Sodexo should follow in their path. These dispensers would cut out the packaging and help provide more choices of cereal.
To Sodexo’s credit the self-serve waffles are great but students would definitely appreciate omelets every morning instead of intermittently.
Or maybe simply adding pancakes to the daily menu would serves as an effective way to wake up students’ taste buds in the morning.
Lunch is generally safe. The salads are phenomenal the sandwiches at the Oasis are tolerable and the grill of course is always open.
Sodexo however should consider keeping the salad wrap station and perhaps another station open during the weekend. This increase in variety would encourage more students to eat lunch on campus.
Dinner needs some work. Of course students can opt for a sloppy burger greasy quesadilla or chicken sandwich but those are a few of the only reliable choices and they are not the healthiest. For the active health-conscious student Pepperdine dining is inadequate particularly in the way of carbohydrates.
Sodexo should introduce brown rice sweet potatoes and whole-wheat pasta. The greasy nutrient-poor pasta served on “Pasta Tuesdays” and the occasional lasagna served at the “Home Cooking” station is more like wet cardboard than proper nutrition.
Perhaps most importantly the cafeteria’s operating hours are unreasonable. Breakfast hours for college students differ markedly from the rest of the world.
Students with afternoon classes most likely do not even wake up before 10 – the hour Sodexo seems to prepare as if students should be moving on toward lunch. To remedy this discrepancy the cafeteria should serve breakfast until at least 11 a.m.
The 2 p.m. lunch deadline is also inappropriate because many students have class from 12-2. Extending lunch until 3 p.m. is more reasonable.
Additionally Sodexo should keep the main cafeteria open past 8 p.m. in order to cater to students who prefer to eat later. And although 8 p.m. is the technical closing time many stations shut down or run out of options before that time.
If students wander in much past 7:30 p.m. they cannot expect to find anything more than a few cool hamburgers sitting under ineffective heating lamps.
Students are all too well aware of the problem so when will it be fixed?
The main cafeteria should be open until at least 9 p.m. and Sodexo should implement a late night HAWC service from 12 to 3 a.m. if not regularly than at least during weeks of heightened stress and studying such as the few weeks before midterms and finals.
It is reasonable to assume that most Sodexo employees would opt not to take this shift but some student workers certainly would. The graveyard shift is quite popular in the library.
Another option would be to permit local restaurants – like China Den Thai Dishes and D’Amore’s – to bring food to serve to Pepperdine students after the cafeteria closes at 8 p.m.
This would serve the dual purpose of feeding students delicious food and giving local restaurants much-needed business.
While permitting some of these requests could possibly breach Pepperdine’s contract with Sodexo Pepperdine should attempt to renegotiate the contract.