‘It’s not ideal’: GVSU restaurants on campus struggle to feed students due to labor shortages despite budget increase

‘It’s not ideal’: GVSU restaurants on campus struggle to feed students due to labor shortages despite budget increase

There are five eateries on campus that are currently closed due to staffing issues.

ALLENDALE, Mich. – Grand Valley State University students are paying more for campus dining this fall, but college eateries are struggling to feed them.

It is the result of a shortage of labor that is forcing the school’s restaurants to operate with reduced capacity.

“A shortage of people and a huge line plus limited food is not ideal,” said GVSU student Chelsea McCrum.

Wednesday morning, the school sent out a statement to students and staff saying they are struggling to staff eateries on campus.

You can read the full letter below.

According to the school, there are currently 5 eateries on campus that are closed, three due to supply chain issues.

For those places that are still open, they have had to limit menu options.

The school promises to work hard to return to full staff and even offers incentives to staff, including a free meal every four hours worked and the introduction of substantial pay.

“I think it’s great,” said Chelsea McCrum, “money says a lot, and if you want people to stay in shifts, you give them an incentive.”

The school asks for patience, and so do the dining staff.

They posted a video on social media in late August that said “we just wanted to say thank you to all of our students for being patient with us as we try to get everywhere open this fall.”

But even with requests to hire more workers, some are frustrated that dining options have become limited with the recent rise in housing and dining expenses.

The board approved the budget back in June.

Chelsea McCrum said the school needs to figure out how to make this situation better for students, especially if they pay more and now get less.

“Get students to come up with suggestions and actually listen to them,” she said, “students need to raise their voices.”

You can learn more about changes in campus dining and follow any updates here.

The letter sent to the GVSU community on Wednesday morning reads as follows:

Campus Dining is currently facing employment challenges, both in terms of full-time and student employment change across the entire company. Campus Dining realizes that the situation is not ideal, but does everything possible given the lack of manpower, and asks for your understanding while we work to resolve the issue.

The shortage of labor is affecting all sectors of the economy, not just in Michigan but throughout the United States. Currently, there are 30 vacancies in our full-time employees and 502 vacancies in student jobs. To put this in perspective, we only have about 70% of our full-time employees and 30% of our student staff in place.

We take proactive measures to provide additional full-time employees and students. Campus Dining will introduce essential wages for workers for designated shifts (every day of the week at targeted times of the day) and provide a free meal for every 4 working hours (to be used when it suits you) as another incentive. Aramark is also expanding the opportunities for recruiting additional full-time employees. The required salary is a premium of 2 USD / hour.

This staff shortage has a direct impact on campus dining operations as it limits our ability to keep all eateries open at typical operating levels. We also have to limit the entire range of menu options to the most popular items in some places to minimize waiting times during rush hour due to labor shortages.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to resolve these issues. Please stay tuned for dining opening hours at Campus Dining – Grand Valley State University (gvsu.edu). If you are interested in making some extra money and free meals – please apply in person at the lower level of Commons at the Campus Dining Office!

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