Fixing long food lines proves difficult

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Photo by Ari Ismail

Lines at Marquis have regularly stretched out the door this semester.

As of late, campus dining halls and locations appear to be overwhelmed, resulting in significant wait times for food. This issue is especially noticeable in Marquis Dining Hall and Gilbert’s, both of which usually have a line out the door during lunch and dinner times.

“I’ve almost been late to class a time or two now … waiting for the crepes,” Evan Pauser ‘26 said. “I think it’s good we have a variety of options on campus, but it has forced me to Upper [Farinon] a couple of times.”

Recently, labor shortages were one of the main causes of long lines at the dining halls. Labor shortages during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected the management of operations nationwide, and at Lafayette. 

The main source of heavy traffic at the halls this year are the smaller dining facilities and the common lunch hour, according to Vice President for Finance & Business Craig Becker and General Manager of Bon Appétit Christopher Brown. 

“With the common lunch hour, the entire campus is going to have lunch at the same time. That is overwhelming,” Becker said. The common lunch hour, around 12-1 p.m., is when the majority of students have the time to eat lunch between classes.

This issue has been addressed in various departments, but, according to Becker, “in terms of eliminating the common lunch hour; [a new schedule] doesn’t have traction.”

Furthermore, Lafayette’s dining options are more unorthodox than traditional facilities in other colleges.

“We don’t have one mega dining hall. A lot of institutions our size – there will be one dining hall. It’s designed to sit the entire campus … Our dining facilities are smaller,” Becker said.

While having more dining options has many positives, Becker said that the dining plan at Lafayette is “handicapped physically by having the two smaller dining halls that were designed many years ago.”

Additionally, dining management wants to preserve the “cooking to order” options that most of the dining facilities include, such as Marquis and Upper Farinon. 

“We want our [meals] to be made to order … we want our students to have that experience,” Brown said. This system does cause longer lines than “grab-and-go” facilities. 

“We are extremely aware of the challenge of lunch,” Becker said. “We’re trying to be creative.”

Correction 9/23/2022: A previous version of this article said that the quotes from Brown and Becker were from an email interview. The interview was actually done in person.