Campus Dining feeds, comforts Vanderbilt community

Vanderbilt employees respond to challenges amid COVID-19

Vanderbilt Campus Dining leadership, general managers, chefs and staff are working around the clock to feed the students, residential faculty and support staff who remain on campus by operating two dining locations—the Rand Hall and Commons dining centers. From ordering, preparing and serving food to washing dishes and keeping dining facilities clean and disinfected, Campus Dining is committed to feeding—and in some cases, comforting—those who remain on campus amid the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Preparations for changes to Campus Dining operations have been ongoing since the emergence of COVID-19.

“Vanderbilt Campus Dining was able to move quickly in order to implement plans that we have discussed, practiced and planned for in advance. The team has really come together to make this happen,” David ter Kuile, executive director for Business Services, said.

As part of its preparations, the department updated and revised its emergency operations plan and developed a number of contingency plans around staffing and menu options to support many different operating scenarios. Staff coordinated with key suppliers to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain, and in many cases, significantly increased backup and emergency food supplies. To ensure the health and safety of Campus Dining staff, all hourly dining staff were sent home with pay for the remainder of their shifts. Additionally, all markets were closed so efforts could be focused on the two open dining locations.

A number of significant steps were taken to adopt CDC-recommended protocols, including minimizing contact, enhancing cleaning procedures and helping ensure safe meal service to all dining patrons. Some of those changes include switching completely to “to-go” orders, eliminating self-serve options and the check-out system, and creating tailored menus so patrons can be served quickly.

In addition to operating the two core dining facilities, Campus Dining also has partnered with the Office of the Dean of Students to develop and implement an SMS text message-based ordering system for students in quarantine and self-isolation. Students confined to their residence hall rooms can text a unique code and order from a menu of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals are prepared by Campus Dining chefs then delivered to student rooms by DOS staff. This process is similar to the existing allergen meal and Get Well meal processes, already in place at Vanderbilt.

FAQs about the coronavirus and the university’s response are being continually updated. Please visit our COVID-19 website for the latest information.