Saturday, April 20, 2024

Kiosks shift campus dining landscape

Students queue up at Kent Cafe waiting to place their orders on the kiosks.


By Hayden Sadler

Dining spots across campus have adopted order kiosks as a replacement to traditional, in-person ordering methods. In past semesters,  students would stand in line and speak to workers at locations such as Tim Hortons, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Kent Cafe, in order to place an order. Now, these levels of interaction between customers and workers are gone.

The campus dining scene has seen a great number of changes in the past year. Last fall, Cardinal Points reported on Chartwells’ adoption of Boost Mobile as a new method to order food across campus, allowing students to order food while away from dining locations. While Boost offered convenience for students, it also worried students that workers couldn’t fulfill orders as promptly as they had done before the adoption of the app.

One year later, Boost has become less noticeable in the wake of campus’ introduction of kiosks. Kiosks allow students the convenience of browsing the entire menu when placing an order, and they allow more workers to approach incoming orders. However, they also present an opportunity for technical errors as well as other problems which could slow down the queue. In some locations, students report on lengthy wait times for food orders.

Jonathan Sheedy is a fifth-year student finishing his education program. Like many students, he often chooses to get food on campus as opposed to eating in. At Kent Cafe, Sheedy has noticed longer wait times compared to the past.

“I wasted a meal swipe,” Sheedy said.

He had waited nearly an hour for a sandwich at the Kent Cafe. Before long, he found the time he had spent waiting had also brought him to the time of his work shift, for which he had to leave without his sandwich.  Quang Nguyen is friends with Sheedy, and is a senior studying computer science.

“I also had to waste one [a meal swipe],” Nguyen added.

He said that even compared to last semester, the wait for food has been longer following the addition of kiosks. An important question last fall was whether staff could reasonably function more efficiently while simultaneously adopting new technologies and order-taking methods.

At locations across campus, the kiosks have stirred controversy following their addition.

Cardinal Points reached out to Chartwells three times regarding the introduction of new order-taking technology and the kiosks, however no answers or interviews have been provided from the company as of publication. As with Boost last fall, it seems the true extent of how these kiosks have affected Chartwells and students alike will remain uncertain.

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