Inside a typical cafeteria, there are the usual areas in which cafeterias like to divide themselves into- Asian food, pizza, the grill, what with its burgers, fries and other sandwiches, and of course, a salad bar. This is what Maryville’s dining hall, Gander, has always had and what it’s always looked like. However, exciting new changes are afoot this year. Gander’s still got everything you know it for, make no mistake, but some new smells and sights are cooking up in the kitchen.
The first thing to notice is the brand-new digital kiosks on which people can order food from the deli, the grill or the pizza station.
Andy Painter, who serves as the student experience and marketing communications manager for Maryville’s dining service, Fresh Ideas, said that the kiosks were installed with the help of the Fresh Ideas technology team and Maryville’s technology team.
He added that this is partly because of Maryville’s increasing use of digital technology in its operations.
Sophomore and psychology major Marissa McCall said of the kiosks, “I didn’t expect them to install them, but they did”. For her, they were the biggest surprise of all the new changes that have taken effect at Gander.
“Maryville’s technology team’s involvement with the kiosks,” said Painter, “means that if anything happens, we can make sure that somebody at Maryville University is able to come over and help us with the process”, ensuring everything is working correctly.
At least one of these kiosks per station is also accessible by wheelchair. Painter said that this ensures that every student who wants to use the kiosks can do so. McCall said that she likes the fact that she can use the new kiosks.
Similarly, the lineup and variety of allergen-friendly options have also expanded, because as Painter pointed out, Fresh Ideas wants to make sure that, for example, “people with a gluten allergy” are part of the Gander dining experience.
There are also a wide variety of new options on all of the kiosk menus, ranging from new signature sandwiches to signature pizzas. McCall, however, said regarding these dishes that “I haven’t tried any of them”.
Painter singled out the Sassy Mac, a burger created as a result of a grilling competition by two Maryville students, as the dish that Fresh Ideas was most excited about. He added that “we think it’s really cool” that something students created is now on Gander’s menu.
Painter said the Fresh Ideas team is working on technology that would allow your order number to show up on the new menu screens in Gander when the food is ordered and when it is ready. This will be in addition to the paper receipts the kiosks use, and would replace your order number being called when your food is ready.
McCall, meanwhile, said she thinks Gander is “pretty good as it is right now”, but she does think the addition of a restaurant to what is currently there “would be good”.
Some new things are in the kitchen, and who knows where things go from here? Who knows? Keep your eyes, ears and (most important of all) noses open!
For more information on Maryville’s Gander dining experience, visit here.