By Lauren Minore
After a fifteen-year partnership with Aramark, Rider Dining hired Gourmet Dining, New Jersey’s largest regional dining service company, to serve its students as the new food vendor for the upcoming academic year.
Michael Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations, and Jan Friedman-Krupnick, associate dean of student life, worked with students, faculty and staff to research and hire a new food provider for dining options on campus.
“We identified that the students needed a change,” Reca said.
Friedman-Krupnick recognized a group of three students, Giavanna Troilo, Carissa Zanfardino and Kahlil Thomas, who were “instrumental in gathering research and information and defining what they wanted” to better inform Rider of student preferences.
Reca also credited the Rider community for their “engagement and in-depth focus” in assisting the competitive process.
Rider Dining notified Gourmet Dining in May 2018 of their hiring.
Its mission is “to provide an exemplary and unique dining experience for each client built on strong professional and personal relationships,” according to their website.
Operating at Daly Dining Hall from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, Gourmet Dining will offer 14 new dining destinations to appeal to student’s tastes.
La Cucina Fresca will feature Italian cuisine, including freshly made pizza dough and pasta.
Students will be able to personalize their stir fry or order from an express menu at the World Hibachi station.
Gourmet Dining offers a new allergen sensitive and gluten friendly station called G-8, to accommodate students with dietary restrictions.
In an attempt to reduce cross-contamination at this station, staff will prepare food in a glass, walled-in cooking space.
The dining stations at Daly Dining Hall will feature continuous service throughout the day with brief windows between meal periods to prepare food.
Students will also have access to a newly renovated Teaching Kitchen service, which will showcase culinary demonstrations and master classes from renowned chefs for students to utilize in management of their own diet and nutrition.
When the kitchen is not in use, students can cook their own food.
Two food trucks will be parked on campus each week, featuring a range of options including diner food and an emphasis on wellness.
“Gourmet Dining was the most creative in terms of their variety of menu items,” Friedman-Krupnick said, “But the clincher for us was their liberal meal exchange program.”
The meal exchange program allowed the convenience of replacing a meal in Daly Dining Hall with a meal exchange menu item in Cranberry’s, Sweigart Express, Subway or the food trucks. One meal exchange is permitted per meal period.
Another service Gourmet Dining offers is a mobile ordering service to avoid long wait times and an app called Chattback, which will allow students to contact Gourmet Dining directly with concerns and issues, connect with a dietician or inquire about menu items.
Friedman-Krupnick emphasized the “significant difference on overall student experence” Gourmet Dining would provide on campus.
“Gourmet Dining is dedicated to this as a positive experience,” Friedman-Krupnick said. “[Students will feel] as if it was a personal dining room.”