Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: Chartwells leaves a bad taste in my mouth

James Bartlett
Chartwells serving pizza in the dining hall.

Suffolk students were hopeful when the new dining services provider, Chartwells, stepped in as former dining provider Sodexo left Suffolk permanently before the 2021 school year.

Chartwells could have been a good change for students, who had been complaining about Sodexo’s service and food for years, but it seems that Chartwells hasn’t even lived up to the standards of its predecessor.

The first thing to address is the food quality.

Chartwells food is suspect to say the least.

There have been stories since last fall of students getting sick from eating Chartwells food, which is concerning in its own right. I haven’t gotten sick as a direct result of the Chartwells food from my knowledge and I honestly think that’s because of the times I simply just gave up.

I have had orders where the portions have been too small for what I pay. I have had food not even close to what I ordered, or that is just disgusting in general. I have seen employees put old food that was sitting out back on the grill as I ordered it.

The food is bad; that’s not uncommon for most college dining hall standards, unless you go to top ranked dining hall school UMass Amherst.

The service might be just as bad as the food.

Most employees at Chartwells are pleasant, but it’s apparent that, despite the alleged “training” that Chartwells claims they do, they are not trained to do their jobs.

The first problem with the service is the efficiency, and I’m not just talking about the made-to- order food.

A rush around the normal meal times of breakfast, lunch and dinner is expected and it’s not something I can blame employees for, but the way Chartwells handles these rushes leave a lot to be desired.

Smith Hall often has lines out to the lobby  for both the made to order bar and the prepared food. There is often a long line of people waiting for the prepared food, that is, if those people are even helped at all as employers are often manning the grill and the prepared food station — that is when they do attend to it. I’ve had occasions where I’ve stood for 10 minutes before I am helped, just to get a container of the food that takes 30 seconds to fill. Other times I just walk out after employees clearly see me and ignore me as they walk on by.

Basic health and safety protocols are also ignored. I know it’s a fast paced, tiring and chaotic environment, but the workers rarely change gloves after handling raw foods — cross contamination is probably running rampant in the kitchen at Chartwells as we speak.

All of this brings me to my main reason why Chartwells is a bad deal for students: money. In my opinion, Chartwells food is too expensive for food as bad as it is.

I also think that the meal plan is a sham.

The meal plan is essentially a gift card. Suffolk already has your cash when you get your meal plan. You can’t use it as cash. You can’t use it at your local restaurants. There is no competitor for your meal plan dollars.

There is a competitor for cash though.

Do you ever wonder why the food at Sargent and 73 Cafe is so much better? It’s clearly about competition.

Having a cafe with decent food in the buildings that get the most foot traffic from commuter students, professors and admins makes a lot of sense. If the food is bad, those people will take the cash Suffolk hasn’t gotten their hands on yet and spend it at another restaurant off campus.

But for the meal plan students like me, why should they try?

Suffolk already has my money. I’m not getting that back and I can’t spend it off campus. There’s often no choice due to financial constraints a lot of students have that leave them relying on meal plans.

And to you first year students in Court St. who wonder what I’m talking about because your food is so good (I’ve tried it after arguing with security to let me have a decent breakfast), you’ll find out what I mean when you’re a sophomore and the schools start to care less and less about retaining you and your tuition dollars.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
James Bartlett
James Bartlett, Multimedia Editor | he/him
James Bartlett is a senior studying print and web journalism. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, James has a strong interest in photojournalism and new journalism tools such as podcasting and user-generated content. James is currently a Web Journalist at WHDH Channel 7 and has previously worked at and the Newburpoty Daily News. Follow James on Twitter @James_bartlett8 Email him at [email protected]

Comments (0)

All The Suffolk Journal Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
OPINION: Chartwells leaves a bad taste in my mouth