Dining Hall Comment Wall

Here are your comments submitted through the QR code on dining room table tents and submitted through the form on our website.

  • Comments go directly to the managers of the dining hall you select on the comment form – so they have the opportunity to react and respond quickly.
  • We have read and are thoughtfully considering all your comments as we plan for upcoming weeks and semesters.
  • We have responded to the comments that included an email address and those responses are included below.

Resident Dining Comments

Diningplan 11/19/2020

Thank you UMD for how flexible and accommodating you all are being for students who plan to stay on campus for Thanksgiving!
I know you all probably hear a lot of complaining – so I wanted to share some gratitude!!

South 11/18/2020

I am about to leave campus, and I wanted to let y’all know how much my experience has improved over the course of the semester. It was a little rough at first, but as everyone started to figure things out I have been very happy with the food and customizability! Thank you so much for doing so much and listening to the students opinions!

Ellicott 11/14/2020

Just want to vent about my recent bad luck. Yesterday, I filled up a cup with water and started to notice a bit of moisture as I walked to a table, but brushed it off as condensation. When I sat down, the cup started to leak through a minuscule hole that I had never noticed, so I had to just dispose of it. Today, I got “access denied” on about 10 hand scans. If I had to speculate, maybe my hands were still wrinkly from showering right before going to eat.

I am so sorry. That stinks – when all you wanted was to get at the food and to have a good drink. I checked in with the management team who was there then and they were unaware that you were having an issue. Please get a manager – we can often solve problems like this quickly and quietly. Thank you for venting to us. 

Ellicott 11/15/2020

The lady who often works the purple zone at the Diner is continuously rude and gives comically small portions and when I ask for more is judge mental and has even said no before. Her attitude towards giving students more food upon request has made my friend with an eating disorder have a panic attack and throw away her food after this lady gave her attitude and aggression when filling her box.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  This certainly does not represent the service we strive to deliver every day for our guests.  I would really like the opportunity to meet with you at the North Campus Diner, at your convenience, to discuss the specifics and get feedback about our overall program.  Let me know if you are willing.  If not, we could chat over phone or email.  In the meantime, we are using your comments as a training tool to refocus our entire staff on the importance of guest service.  
Please don’t hesitate to ask for a manager if you ever have any issues, questions, or suggestions while in our dining halls.  We are here to serve and want to make sure you leave happy.

251 North 11/15/2020

There is never any variety at the purple zone. The same thing is served for lunch and dinner and it’s always an asian chicken dish and rice, although these aren’t horrible the lack of diversity in dishes discourages me from eating 3 meals a day.

The C Shops 11/12/2020

Recently, I have noticed that The Commons Shop has not had Dynamitas (made by Doritos) in stock. Those are what get me through my week 🙁 Do you know if they will be restocking them?

Thanks for reaching out.  We will contact the Frito-Lay driver and ask her to restock the Dynamitas. 
In the meantime, I tracked some down at Food for Thought Cafe in the Edwards St. John’s building.  It’s open 8AM – 4PM on Friday.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Ellicott 11/11/2020

Every morning the milk sits out on an ice cooler which causes the milk to freeze and become undrinkable. It would be appreciated if the dining staff would be able to poor the milk straight from the machine when requested so it doesn’t freeze.

Ellicott 11/11/2020

I’m writing abut the Ramen Bar that was featured today. The noodles had a very weird texture and I suppose it could be attributed to the fact that it was overcooked and just lying on a tray in the open air. I actually was not able to finish the meal because of becoming nauseous.

Thank you for reaching out with this feedback, we appreciate hearing from our guests.  I’m sorry you did not enjoy the Ramen Noodle Bar we featured today.  Because we cook our fresh ramen noodles in small batches and then add to broth, it is possible that your noodles could have been undercooked or overcooked.  My Executive Chef and I would really like the opportunity to meet with you to discuss and possibly chat about your overall experiences in the Diner this semester.  Please let me know if you would be willing.  
Any time you have a question, suggestion, or an issue, please don’t hesitate to let us know.  We are here to serve!

Cambridge 11/10/2020

Can we please get juice or coffee at Cambridge Outpost?

South 11/12/2020

Thanks for all the hard work to make the dining halls kind of safe. I noticed that the people dining in can sit about 6 feet from the path to exit South Campus diner, and that many people choose to sit as close as possible. I’m not comfortable being indoors around people without masks, especially when they’re eating and talking, because the aerosols can get much farther than six feet. The room is so big- could the seating closest to that path be removed to keep people who choose to dine in farther away from people who choose not to?

Unrelated, but I really liked having fresh oranges at the beginning of the semester. What happened to them? Will they come back?

Thank you for your comments. We do work hard to keep dining hall patrons as safe as possible. Our whole team is invested in the effort and we appreciate that you’ve noticed. We’ll pass your compliment along to the whole group. 
We can re-examine the seating arrangements and the traffic patterns to make sure that at minimum the six-foot physical distancing guideline is truly in place, and see where it’s practical to expand that.
Oranges. We have had to return several shipments of oranges because their quality was poor. Fires in California, floods, storms, etc. have had a really detrimental effect on the crop. Once the next/better harvest is available, you’ll see them in the dining halls again. 
Stay safe, and stay in touch.
Okay, thank you! Six feet seems like not enough when people are eating and talking without masks. I appreciate that you’ll check whether it can be expanded.
 

Ellicott 11/09/2020

More chicken tenders!!!!!!

Ellicott 11/09/2020

It is terrible of the University Dining Service to not prorate the dining plan given the University is not allowing students to return after Thanksgiving.

Please see the answer to the next comment. 

Ellicott 11/09/2020

I want to make sure that the students Dining Dollars balance will be rolled over to the Spring semester given the University is not allowing the students to return after Thanksgiving.

Thank you for your patience. I wanted to be sure I had the correct answer before I responded. Students who leave campus at Thanksgiving Break and do not return until spring can roll over their Dining Dollars and Connector Meal Plans. See the FAQ and its answer (posted on dining.umd.edu/novdec2020). If you have follow up or additional questions, please let me know. Reach me at bhipple@umd.edu  

251 11/09/2020

I found hair in the pasta and the spinach pasta. This is not only disgusting but also very bad for the students.

Thank you for letting us know. Today, we will review hat/hairnet and general food handling procedures with all staff on the line. 

Diner 11/08/2020

I’m wondering if you could please offer more food that isn’t fried in the vegan section? I personally am trying to eat healthy, but oftentimes have a difficult time doing so since a lot of the tofu and fake meat is fried.

Thank you for writing in. I know that the vegan station is really important to many people and appreciate you for taking the time to let us know what you’re seeing. I checked in with the culinary team, and the vegan cutlets are grilled on our panini grills, and the tofu is, in general, seared on a very hot skillet and not deep fried.  Please write back and let me know which items specifically seem oily to you – or take your food to the manager on duty – so that we can look at the product and see what you’re seeing. If you’d like I can ask Chef to meet with you to talk about vegan dining.  

Thank you so much for getting back to me regarding my feedback. I would like to thank you for being so open to feedback from students, and I really do commend UMD dining for having such an extensive menu for vegans and vegetarians.
I’ve noticed that many items including the tofu pesto dish, and general tso’s seitan are oftentimes fried. Additionally, I’ve also noticed that a lot of the stir fried dishes are heavily coated in sweetened sauces. Lastly, I have also experienced that the beans and lentils are very salty and spicy at times as well.
I would love to discuss with the main chef to provide more detail and feedback.
I would like to encourage you to reach out to me with feedback anytime so that we can continue to strive toward feeding our students wholesome food made with care.  As for your concerns, after we met, I met with my staff and we will definitely be looking at the issues with the lentils, beans, stir fry and tofu.  If you have any concerns or you would like to speak any further on this issue, please contact me using the information below.
 

Diner 11/08/2020

it would be cool if we could see when the meals are cycled out. like when does dinner become available and when does lunch become unavailable.

Thanks for the suggestion.  This info can be found on our website, dining.umd.edu,  under Hours but we will look into adding it to our Menu page as well.
Here’s a rundown…
Monday-Friday we serve… 
    • Breakfast 7am-10:30am
    • Lunch 10:30am-4pm and transition to dinner by 4:30pm
    • Dinner 4:30pm-9pm
Saturday and Sunday we serve…
    • Brunch 10am-1pm and transition to dinner by 1:30pm
    • Dinner 1:30pm-9pm
Have a great week!
 

Diner 11/07/2020

I’m very much a fan of seeing how dining services has has had a smooth transition from how it would typically run. I’m a huge fan of the breakfast sandwiches and wraps!

I have a couple of questions regarding the availability of a few food choices we’ve had in the past. Would it be possible to offer gravy with the mashed potatoes since currently, the mashed potatoes are dry and don’t have much flavor.

I’m very glad that curly fries and tater tots are back with an addition of waffle fries! The curly fries and waffle fries in particular are always seasoned to perfection. Would it be possible to also offer honey mustard as an additional condiment to the current selection?

One other thing is smoothies. Seeing as the fruit is already available and served, would it be possible to have smoothies again?

Thank you, I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you for the thoughtful comment. We did make significant changes to our menus in order to ensure that you could spend minimal time in the serving area and still get a great meal with some good flavors! To address your comments one-by-one — It’s a problem that the mashed potatoes are dry and have no flavor. That all by itself isn’t good. Chef will look carefully and possibly modify that process a little. On the other hand, we have added gravy – and honey mustard sauce – to the serving lines at the Diner. Enjoy some of either, (or both) next time you’re there. 
Smoothies are more difficult. We make them in batches, they don’t hold up well to carryout, and we are using the smoothie space for foods that used to be available at self-serve stations in the dining room (cereal, milk, juice, etc.). Not to say it’s impossible, just that this is difficult to work around. Good to know that they are important and that they are missed. 
We are working to reinstitute as many popular foods as we can without slowing you down as you go through the serving area. It’s a real challenge to balance safety, flavor, variety and nutrition! Stay in touch and let me know how you like the honey mustard and the gravy! 

Diner 11/07/2020

Maybe some more breakfast options? Or at least have breakfast run till 11 so i don’t have to eat a burger at 10:30am.
Bring back chicken tenders! The pop up stops are all really good.

Cambridge Outpost 11/05/2020

The menus posted online are rarely accurate (this is true for the Diner as well, to a lesser extent). It would be great if someone could pay extra attention to make sure the items listed at nutrition.umd.edu reflect what is actually being served.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The operations managers will get together with Chef and see what needs to happen and who can do what to make sure these menus are updated frequently. 

South 11/05/2020

I was wondering if you could bring back egg whites for breakfast? I really enjoyed them last semester, and for some reason, the texture of the scrambled eggs don’t sit well with me.

Thank you for speaking up about this. We know that egg whites have a core following. When we planned this semester, we were really focused on streamlining the menus to make sure we could move everyone through the serving area very quickly. With that agenda in mind, we did not get egg whites in for this fall. However we will look to see when and how we can bring a supply of them in and see how that goes!
I also want to tell you that our culinary team has worked with the morning cooks and changed how we cook scrambled eggs! Please give them another try. We’d love to hear if you notice the improvements.

251 North 11/04/2020

I really like the burrito options but I enjoy putting rice in my burrito. I wish that sticky rice was an option more often so I could ask to put it in my burrito each time.

That’s a great comment – interesting and unique! We haven’t heard anyone else ask for sticky rice with the burritos – two things we can do right now:  keep our ears open for more feedback like this and pass your comments to our culinary team as they plan future menus.
Thank you for writing in – stay safe and stay in touch.
Diner 11/02/2020
Breakfast seems a bit repetitive. Can you being back a few different alternatives like chia pudding?
Thank you for writing in. I’m a big fan of breakfast food myself. We have a few ideas to make breakfast less monotonous in the next few weeks – look around next time you’re in for something a little different. The Chia Pudding is really good and last year we ran it as a special. Now that we are more confident in this “new normal,” we are planning to offer it again as a special in the spring. Watch for it then!
South 11/03/2020

I am a student at UMD and a resident in South Campus. I have lived in South Campus for the past four years and have continuously seen great work being done at the south campus diner, but this semester’s adaptation to covid guidelines have exceeded any expectation. From converting to take out to the movement now being in one direction, the diner has been stellar at reducing the amount of contact through this covid season. Although there are plenty of good things done by the diner this semester, I believe some of the food served could use improvements.
I believe the sausages served should go without cranberries. I don’t see why the cranberries are necessary to be in the sausage. During this time when dining options are greatly reduced, I believe that adding cranberry to sausage turns away a lot of residents at the diner. I don’t believe cost is an issue, due to the fact that simply not adding cranberry or buying sausages that don’t have cranberry in them is an option. I believe that a lot of people who eat only sausage will not eat sausage with cranberry, but the people who do eat sausage with cranberry would be comfortable eating regular sausage. I believe that this argument also applies to adding raisins to oatmeal, as the raisins also turn off a lot of residents eating breakfast at the diner.
Thank you so much for reading this and taking time out to consider my suggestions.

Good Morning –  I hope you are safe and well!  Thanks so much for writing in and providing feedback, as we are always looking to improve.
The chicken cranberry sausage is actually one of our most popular breakfast proteins.  Due to its popularity, it is something that we most likely will not remove from the menu.  But, we will look for a simple pork sausage to add as another option.
Also, we are already addressing the oatmeal.  We are working on a plain oatmeal with toppings on the side versus having them in the oatmeal itself
If anything additional comes up, please don’t hesitate to contact us again!

SOUTH 11/03/3030

Hello – I’m a resident assistant in the South Hill Community. I’m writing to you to forward some suggestions and concerns raised by some of my residents regarding the breakfast food items. The first suggestion was providing a plain oatmeal alternative to the current raisin oatmeal. The second suggestion was providing the scrambled egg option with cheese, like in previous years, something they seemed to really enjoy. The third concern was the preparation of the scrambled eggs. They felt that this year it’s been dry and overcooked, compared to last year when it still contained moisture when being served. Lastly they were wondering if it’s possible to bring back the omelette bar.

Good Morning – I hope you are staying safe and well.  Also, thanks so much for supporting our students by being an RA!  
We appreciate you sending feedback.  We are going to change our egg preparation to improve the quality, and this should eliminate them being dry.  We will also start adding the cheesy eggs back to the menu. We are going to get some plain oatmeal in, and will work to add toppings as options versus have them in the oatmeal.
Unfortunately, the omelet bar will not be returning any time soon.  One of our main focuses this term has been to minimize or eliminate lines in the serveries.  Given the time it takes for our guests to select ingredients and the actual cook time for an omelet, it creates lines and risk.  We know this is a favorite of our guests, and have been trying to come up with a work-around, but we have not been successful to date.
Again, thanks for writing in!!  Don’t hesitate to contact us again if anything additional comes up!
 

251 11/02/2020

251 is our favorite dining hall, but as it gets colder and darker outside, we have opted to go to the diner instead since we can eat inside. When will 251 be open for us to eat inside?

Thanks for the email!! We appreciate it, and the love for 251 North.  Unfortunately, due to the physical layout of 251, we will not be able to offer dine in at this location.  251 is unique in that the serving stations are all surrounded by seating.  At the Diner and the South Campus Dining Hall, the servery is completely separated from the seating area.
For this reason 251 North, unfortunately, will remain take out only. I know this isn’t the answer you were looking for, but hopefully the reasoning behind the decision makes sense. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions,

Diner 11/02/2020

Breakfast seems a bit repetitive. Can you being back a few different alternatives like chia pudding?

South 11/02/2020

The pasta options with veggies and stuff almost always have dairy or cheese added. I would prefer some pasta options that have like oil or non dairy toppings, but aren’t necessarily plain pasta.

Diner 11/02/2020 

I think the station with Korean beef, lo mein noodles, etc needs more variation instead of having the same options everyday.

Diner 10/29/2020

Please add breaded mozzarella cheese sticks!!!

251 North 10/29/2020 

Breaded mozzarella cheese sticks would be awesome!!

251 North 10/29/2020

During the first few weeks of the semester there was an Oreo or cookies and cream pie/cake dessert and it was so delicious. My friends and I have been craving it ever since but 251 Dining Hall and the Diner have not had it since the start of the semester. If possible, could the staff please bring that dessert back? Besides that, I think the dining halls are doing a great job and the wraps/burritos and desserts are always so delicious.

Diner 10/28/2020

I love the breakfast bacon/sausage egg and cheese on a croissant but sometimes its on the menu and not actually in the diner. I also consistently ask for smaller portions but I’m ignored and end up having to waste food.

Thank you for your comments. Its great to know these breakfast sandwiches have an outspoken fan base. We are having a problem with supply – we aren’t always getting what we order – and are working with this vendor and others to correct it. Thank you for you patience with this 
The other problem you brought up is also troubling. We absolutely want you to get enough food but we do not want to waste food! We will include your comment in our staff meetings and training sessions this week. Please stay in touch and let us know how we’re doing! 

Diner 10/27/2020

I’ve noticed that only “cheap” fruit is offered at the dining hall, and it’s not even offered all day. You guys used to add berries in the cups, and now we don’t even get that. Just melons, grapes and pineapples in small cups for a few hours a day. Last year, we used to have fruit available to us all day and now it feels like we have been completely skimped out on that. It feels very offensive, since we pay the same amount of money for our meal plans. I know that adjustments have to be made because of the pandemic, but can we at least get berries? Or have fresh fruit available to us not just at breakfast time?

Commons Shop 10/22

My comment is about the Commons Shop! i just want to say that whoever was working at 9:50 on Thursday October 22nd has always been so polite and in a good mood. i always appreciate it!

Thank you! We will share your compliment with our team member and with their supervisor! 

Ellicott 10/14

The Cambridge Community Outpost could use some optimization. Being an outpost, they were be better serving the premade salads and meals rather than throwing things together when you come in. The quality of the meals I have gotten there are always lower than that of the diner because they should be making meals, rather just handing them out.

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