Letter to the Editor: Chartwells cares about student feedback on dining options

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I’m writing today to introduce myself as the dining leader for Chartwells Higher Education at Carnegie Mellon University. I speak on behalf of myself and my colleagues when I say that we are extremely humbled to have been chosen as the dining provider for Carnegie Mellon University. Over the past 10 months we have spent countless hours speaking with students, faculty, and staff to better understand the community’s needs as they relate to dining and life on campus.

We believe that our success depends on ensuring our associates feel valued and able to support their families. We are proud to provide associates with opportunities to help shape their careers and lives in a positive, productive work environment. Chartwells offers individuals with the opportunity for rewarding professional and personal growth. We are committed to treating all associates with dignity and respect. In fact, this week we are participating in our annual company-wide diversity and inclusion week that celebrates our commitment to our people and their unique differences. We are also looking forward to hosting our "Respect Effect" training shortly with both our hourly and salaried team members.

We care deeply about our people and take pride in offering great benefits and a people-first culture that make our associates feel appreciated. To further our commitment, this month we have rolled out an enhanced associate engagement program called YouFirst. This program offers opportunities for associates to develop their career goals and enhance their skills to be recognized and rewarded.

I want to personally thank all of our associates for all their hard work and dedication over the past year as we prepared for a new and improved dining experience at Carnegie Mellon. I also want to clear up some miscommunication around several articles printed on January 28 and April 1. None of the associates mentioned were released from employment. Instead, we offered them first choice of part time hours. Furthermore, all employees maintained their full-time benefit status and there was no disruption in service. In light of recent requests by the Union, we have been working in full cooperation and have committed to ongoing meetings to address any concerns that may be brought forth in a speedy and productive manner.

At Chartwells, we don’t leave anything to chance. The food we serve, the retail locations we choose, and the events we run are all part of a strategic plan that was developed based on the insights we learned from listening to and evaluating the needs of the campus community. During our research we found that:
• Dining options were limited near Legacy Plaza. In response we recently opened up the “Say Cheese” food truck to service that area of the campus and provide additional job opportunities.
• There wasn’t enough variety at Entropy, so we have added a new selection of ethnic and fresh foods.
• The BYOB grill concept was no longer popular with students. In response, we opened a new sought-after comfort food station, Urban Revolution, which will create an efficient point of service for our guests.

Thank you to everyone in the Carnegie Mellon community who has provided feedback. We can’t do what we do without your engagement. Please don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions, concerns, feedback, or ideas about campus dining. You can join Chartwells during Carnegie Mellon's monthly Dining Student Advisory Committee meetings, attend a teaching kitchen, register for one of this year’s focus groups, or text us on our Text2Chat line at 412-906-4447.

Mindy Segal is the Carnegie Mellon Division President of Strategic Accounts.