BUIES CREEK – When Campbell University students return to campus Wednesday for a new semester, they’ll find there’s a lot of “new” at their old cafeteria.Marshbanks Dining Hall will reopen for breakfast Wednesday after almost a month of construction. The biggest change is a new wok station, and other renovations include a larger salad bar, an easier-to-use dish drop-off area, new booths, rearranged seating and more.
The roughly $300,000 renovations, funded by Aramark, Campbell’s food services provider, will not only offer a better product for students and faculty, but will improve the dining hall’s overall customer service, according to Food Services Director Larry Aldridge.
“It will absolutely reduce the lines,” said Aldridge, who was recently named Aramark’s Front Line Manager of the Year for the company’s southeast region. “These stations were set up more professionally to handle more volume. Then again, because of these improvements, we may have more students at Marshbanks … but I’m sure we’ll handle it.”
Aldridge said Marshbanks had experimented with Asian cuisine in the past, and he pointed to one instance where a makeshift wok station drew a line that went out the front door. The new station – located on the cafeteria’s south end where soda machines once stood – will be equipped for quicker service and easier communication between the chefs and the customers, he said.
Other amenities include an improved salad bar and a new location for dish return. Aldridge said he felt the older layout caused “traffic jams” near the dish return area, and students were forced to toss their own trash and uneaten food. The new set-up includes a window where students place their dishes and cups on a conveyor belt, which leads to employees in the dishwashing area who’ll handle all discarded food items.
“It will no longer be visible from the dining room, and students will no longer have to separate any paper and scrape their own plates,” he said. “Our staff will take care of everything.”Construction on the renovations began in early December, the day after fall graduation. Aldridge said a few cosmetic improvements will come later, but the dining hall is on schedule to open Wednesday morning for the start of the spring semester.
And the renovations aren’t all that’s planned for the spring. Aldridge said the University will soon house a sushi chef, and packaged sushi will be available for retail at the Oasis dining hall, Shouse and The Groc, hopefully in the coming months.
“We did the same thing when I was at Elon University, and it was hugely popular,” he said.
Marshbanks Dining Hall is open Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Story and photo by Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications
Photo: Assistant Food Services Director Lexi Liersaph (left), discusses Marshbanks Dining Hall’s new wok station with supervisor Rose Barefoot and sous chef Cora McCoy on Jan. 10.