Students Give On-Campus Dining High Marks

Although Alfred State College can be justifiably proud of its diverse and tasty student dining experience, does that automatically equate to customer satisfaction? Happily, the answer to that question is a resounding yes!

According to Dining Services’ 2009 Fall Customer Satisfaction Survey, the college gets high marks for taste: 74 percent of survey respondents ranked the taste of the on-campus food as good, very good, or exceptional.

This is the eighth annual survey used by Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services (ACES) to gauge customer satisfaction and analyze the feedback to make improvements. Over 19 percent of the student population participated in the survey which was conducted using the online survey tool from Zoomerang (http://www.zoomerang.com).

“This year’s survey has given us valuable insight into how our students perceive our offerings. The survey data show that our customers have a high level of satisfaction with dining,” Karen Canne, director of dining services, explained.

Meal plan selection is a key factor in overall student satisfaction. Over 64 percent of students feel that they made the right meal plan selection for their eating style. Survey results show that nearly half of all students are on either the 18 or 14 meal (per week) plan.

Dining options at Alfred State College include some of the top 10 branded restaurants in the country (KFC, Friendly’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) two ACES self-concept locations (Peach Pit and Exit West Café), and one all-you-care-to-eat dining hall. The survey asked for input on all on-campus dining and asked students about their off-campus dining experiences. Meal plan meals and the Campus Spending Account (CSA) can be used at any of the on-campus locations. Students are able to use their campus spending accounts (CSA) to dine off-campus using the campus partner program.

“We’re happy that the changes we made over the summer with the renovation of Central Dining Hall reflect the kinds of food and customer service that students have asked for in past surveys,” Canne said.

Survey respondents indicated that Italian food is the favorite ethnic food, with Asian cuisine coming in a close second. The Terrace, the new all-you-care-to-eat facility in Central Dining Hall, has serving stations that dish out these specialties at almost every meal.

“Dining at Alfred State has always been good,” said senior technology management major Jason MacLean of Williamsville. “But the addition of The Terrace has really boosted student satisfaction.”

ACES employs over 90 full-time workers and over 200 students each semester. Trained and motivated students who become the face of ACES to the student customers are a key indicator of customer satisfaction. Respondents ranked ACES high on responsiveness, friendliness, and value and customer orientation.

“We’re still poring over the data to uncover ideas for improvement,” Canne said. “There are immediate small changes that can have a big impact on satisfaction and we’re uncovering those right now. We’re excited that our students are so willing to share their opinions so that we can make their Alfred State experience even better.”

About ACES

Auxiliary Campus Enterprises & Services (ACES) is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the mission of Alfred State College. ACES is located on campus and provides dining services, campus bookstores, telecommunications, transportation, vending, and laundry services to its customers.