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UB limits dining hall options due to staffing, supply shortage

2,775 freshmen living on campus have meal plans
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Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 17:36:11-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — With a staffing shortage and supply chain issues, University at Buffalo had to adjust its dining halls service levels.

The Director of Marketing and Communications at UB Campus Dining & Shops, Ray Kohl, said the university is struggling with the same supply and staffing issues as the rest of the country.

“We’re no different than any other place in the industries, grocery stores included,” Kohl said.

All 2,775 freshmen living on campus have to buy a meal plan. The cheapest meal plan costs $3,250 per semester.

Before the pandemic, there were three “all you care to eat” dining halls. Now, during the week, one is operating as a “menu option” and one is only serving dinner with reservations.

“It’s pretty annoying. Food is hard to come by,” sophomore, Jordan Lieser, said. “We try to use the meal swipes, and it sucks.”

“You have classes, and you have work,” senior, Sharon John, said. “On top of that, you have to plan out where you want to eat. The lines are long and everyone just wants to eat food all the time.”

Instead of dining halls, students can use their meal plans at cafes and retail locations on campus including Moe’s and Tim Horton’s. Kohl said before the pandemic, there were 40 of these food spots, but because of the shortages and staffing issues, up to ten of the locations are closed.

“Our smaller cafes we just can’t staff right now, but we had to focus on where our students are concentrated at to serve them better,” Kohl said.

“The lines are very long,” freshman, Michael Marciano, said. “Sometimes I have to wait 20-30 minutes just to get my order in.”

Kohl said they are serving almost the same number of meals as they used to, but in a more condensed area.

“There are some days I have to plan out, like if I’m with my friends, we meet up 30 minutes in advance because we know we’ll have to wait in line,” John said.

UB said they will start to open more food options as they hire more staff and get the ingredients they need.

“We have been getting a lot of positives,” Kohl said. ‘Some of them are very appreciative of the staff coming to work knowing that we’re coming here to take care of our students.”