Culinary Council

The purpose of the Culinary Council is to be an open forum to discuss strategies for UAB Campus Dining to continue exceeding the expectations of customers. We meet once per month over dinner. If you're interested in being a part of this group, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Monthly Minutes

  • January 22, 2020
    5:00 PM-6:00 PM
    UAB Commons on the Green, Dragons’ Den

    ATTENDEES
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Brian Bowser, Resident District Manager | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    Marc Booker, Director of Housing & Dining | UAB
    Dr. John Jones, Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    Ryan Jefferson, Marketing Coordinator | UAB Campus Dining
    Kiawanna Everett Operations Manager | UAB Campus Dining
    David Fabrycki, Campus Executive Chef | UAB Campus Dining
    Bobby Eaton, Resident Dining Operations Director | UAB Campus Dining

    Hana Habchi
    Ryan Wong
    Olivia Harrison
    Stephanie Kirkland
    Kylan Patterson
    Tehreem Khan
    Tayyaba Khan
    MaryKate Terry
    Wendy Jiang
    Alice Kim
    Karen Wang
    Lana El-Etr
    Davis Gustafson
    A’Zhariya Ellis

    DINING UPDATES & DISCUSSION
    Brian/Samantha reviewed:

    • The Grid
    • New Dining Locations
    • Mystery Shopper
    • Road Trip Bingo (Are We There Yet Sweepstakes)
    • Lunar New Year
    • Blazer Bites
    • Donor 2 Diner
    • Limited Time Offers
      • Starbucks Smoked Butterscotch, Dairy Free Options
      • WOW Asian Chicken WrapoEinstein’s All Nighter Sandwich
      • The Den Beyond Burger

    OPEN DISCUSSION
    Brian opens the meeting by sharing Ryan has been named the Employee of the Month for the month of December.
    - Conversations move to the opening of The Grid, which has a fully implemented Simply to Go Program.

    Brian – Highlights the new dining locations coming with the new residence hall. Moe’s, Slice of Life, and Einstein Bros. Bagels.

    Sam turns the focus to the Mystery Shopper program. There will be a change in the payment system due to prior inconsistencies. Program will start up again January 27th.

    Ryan – Leads conversations to upcoming events for the next couple of weeks. Road Trip Bingo will begin tomorrow in the Commons as a part of the Are We There Yet Sweepstakes. Students can participate in Bingo and enter to win a 3 piece luggage set, vouchers for a round trip flight, and $300 for ground transportation.

    David – Updates on Lunar New Year. We’ll be doing a special menu for lunch to celebrate.

    Sam – Donor 2 Diner is on February 11th. You can donate a meal swipe or $5 to Blazer Kitchen.

    Brian opens to floor for open discussions.

    Sam addresses an issue with the extra sour cream charge from Sandella’s. Kiawanna states that we have to cover the price of the sour cream that the purchase of the quesadilla doesn’t cover. The team will be sure to make sure it’s always a full cup when requested.

    Lana brings up an issue with the amount of pork dishes served in the Commons. Chef David states that we have started a new menu rotation which ensures there are never pork entrees at both Classics and Simple Servings. A separate meeting will take place to address concerns for students following a halal diet.

    The conversation was then turn to language barriers inside The Commons. Studentswould like multiple language menus for international students. Brian asks that the members research and offer apps that would assist in translating. Sam and David offer the Bite app as a solution. It can highlight allergens with icons instead of words.

    What’s replacing Einstein Bros. Bagels in the LRC: There are thoughts and ideas but there is nothing in stone yet.

    Valentine’s Day Game Show: The show will be located at WOW Café and lead by Student Media.

    A new March promotion is in the works that will feature Girl Scout cookie themed desserts. Gluten free options will be available.

  • November 20th, 2019

    5:00 PM-5:45 PM
    CSB 292

    ATTENDEES
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Brian Bowser, Resident District Manage | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB

    Tehreem Khan
    Tayyaba Khan
    Kylan Patterson
    Stephanie Kirkland
    Hana Habchi
    Olivia Harrison
    Rachel Thompson
    Wendy Jiang
    Kylie Debardleton
    MaryKate Terry
    Ryan Wong

    DINING UPDATES & DISCUSSION
    Brian/Samantha reviewed upcoming events:
    • Fall and Winter Holiday hours of operation
    • Stone Steakhouse
    • Trivia Nights
    • Save the Dates for Spring 2020:
      • Trivia
      • Fat Tuesday
      • Fresh Market
      • Culinary Battle

    Magic City Eats update: in the shop getting repairs done.

    Brian reviewed renovations and construction of Sterne Library, WOW Café, Moe’s, Einstein Bros., Slice of Life, The Grid.

    Brian reviewed Ignite Meal Plans - $100 and $200 dining dollar options available for the end of the semester.

    Don’t forget to use your dining dollars and dragon cash!



    OPEN DISCUSSION

    Students would like to see soda water available in more places on campus. Reviewed current availability at the C-Store and Commons on the Green and we can look into adding in more locations

    A student was overcharged for a $5 combo at the Den. Education of team to address this issue will occur.

    Future food truck menu suggestion – tacos. Would also like to see Balanced Bowls again when it warms up. The time frame from 11 AM-1 PM for Magic City Eats outside the LRC works very well for the group of students, faculty, and staff in that building.

    Starbucks Sterne renovation will allow for additional customer engagement, lower wait times, and better product availability.

    Group discussed access for the new Residence Hall 2020 dining locations. Einstein Bros. will be a cornerstore with exterior access only across from Al’s on 17th and 10th. Second floor – Moe’s and Slice of Life – will have interior and exterior access to keep general public from wander halls. There will be 200 seats and an outdoor terrace.

    Students requested that items be priced in the C-Store.

    Discussion of Commons on the Go box use at Mein Bowl continued and will be followed up with the national Mein Bowl team.

    Students asked if items in Dinner Made Easy are labeled as Vegan/Vegetarian, etc. Yes, they are and all ingredients are listed on every item.

    Blazer Catering Co. sometimes serves Halal chicken. Please check with chef on an event-by-event basis.

    Students are enjoying the Blazer Value Menu at Full Moon.

    Students asked if Starbucks would have any more red cups. Promotion has ended and there won’t be anymore of that specific cup, but others are available.
    ANNOUNCEMENTS
    The Wolves is showing through Saturday – student theatre production
    Basketball tailgate tonight with Full Moon
    WRAP UP
    Next meeting: November 20th In Collat 292 at 5 pm.
  • October 30th, 2019

    5:00 PM-6:00 PM
    UAB Commons on the Green, Dragons’ Den

    ATTENDEES
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Brian Bowser, Resident District Manage | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    Kiawanna Everett Operations Manager | UAB Campus Dining
    Ryan Jefferson, Marketing Coordinator | UAB Campus Dining

    Ryan Wong
    MaryKate Terry
    Alice Kim
    Karen Wang
    Tehreem Khan
    Tayyaba Khan
    Olivia Harrison
    Wendy Jiang
    Kylie Debardleton
    Hana Habchi
    Davis Gustafson
    Kylan Patterson

    DINING UPDATES & DISCUSSION
    Brian/Samantha reviewed upcoming events & current promos:
    • Stone Steakhouse
    • Halloween
    • Wicked Wings
    • Mystery Shopper
    • Thanksgiving (Charlie Brown)
    • Vega Coffee
    • Dinner Made Easy
    • Pack the Pantry (Nov 20th – 22nd)
    • Dec 3rd Food Truck

    (Meeting was rescheduled from Collat to the Hill due to the weather)

    OPEN DISCUSSION

    Brian opens the floor by speaking on the Mystery Shopper Program. “The group is doing a wonderful job and is given Campus dining some invaluable data. This data is being shared with our manager and the rest of our program”
    Kiawanna – Thanks the mystery shoppers and asks them to for more shops in the evening and late shifts. “Places that are open late.”
    Samantha – If you do all 5 weeks in a row you get another $50

    Samantha turns the focus to our Calendar of Events: Bingo, Halloween, Game of Thrones Trivia, Stone Steakhouse, Weekly Deals at Einstein’s, Tailgates, Disney Music Trivia, Wicked Wings, Thanksgiving, and Pack the Pantry.

    Thanksgiving: It will be held in the Commons and Charlie Brown themed. The movie will be shown on repeat during the course of the day. The Commons will be serving Thanksgiving style food as well as the meal for the Charlie Brown Movie (Buttered toast, jelly beans, etc.)

    Last Home Game Food Truck: Brian encourages everyone to come out. The menu will be determined based on the time of the game.

    WOW: new renovations coming. The idea is to give it more of a lounge setting. Looking to offer breakfast items and to expand the kitchen.

    Ryan: students expressed interest in a healthy grab n’ go option. Brian says that there is something in the works and a deeper program is coming to The Grid.

    Grubhub: A few problems with Grubhub including menus aren’t accurate and long waits for deliveries. Brian- the time window is because the demand for delivery is rising, but these are still unacceptable and will be addressed with the vendor.

    Sterne Experience: Poor experience with ordering food at Starbucks, making student late to class.
    Brian- any experience like this is something we want to hear about immediately. A lot of this has to do with space but we do have to be efficient and right the first time.

    Bite App: Still says its incorrect. *Quick fix that Samantha will take care of.*

    Magic City Eats at the LRC: Thursday Nov 7th. Cheesesteaks and gluten free options.

    Menu Languages: Davis wanted to explore multiple language options for menus in the Commons.
    Brian – This can be something we can look into.
    WRAP UP
    Next meeting: November 20th In Collat 292 at 5 pm.
  • September 25, 2019

    5:00 PM-6:00 PM
    UAB Commons on the Green, Dragons’ Den

    ATTENDEES
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Brian Bowser, Resident District Manage | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    David Fabrycki, Campus Executive Chef | UAB Campus Dining
    Marc Booker, Student Housing and Dining | UAB
    Ryan Jefferson, Marketing Coordinator | UAB Campus Dining

    Ryan Wong
    MaryKate Terry
    Alice Kim
    Karen Wang
    Stephanie Kirkland
    Tehreem Khan
    Tayyaba Khan
    Olivia Harrison
    Wendy Jiang
    Kylie Debardleton

    DINING UPDATES & DISCUSSION
    Brian/Samantha reviewed upcoming events & current promos:
    • Oktoberfest
    • The Grid
    • Commons on the Go
    • Mystery Shopper

    OPEN DISCUSSION
    Brian welcomed everyone back from summer. Being a month into the semester, the floor was opened up for any comments or ideas for Campus Dining.

    On Commons on the Go: MaryKate brought up very positive feedback for the To Go Boxes. Students are enjoying the accessibility and the option of being able to get a hot meal to go instead of a sandwich and chips. David went into more detail for those who were not familiar with the To Go Boxes. He explained how they are purchased for a one-time fee of $5. Dirty containers are brought back to the Commons once students are finished and the student receives a new container or a carabiner.

    On upcoming renovations: Samantha began discussing The Grid and what students can expect. Talks continued about the location and different items it would offer. Brian discussed about refurnishing dining locations such as WOW and expanding Starbucks.

    On events: Brian brought up the amount of events that Campus Dining presents to the students. There are 38 different events coming up this following week. Ryan discussed Bingo and Trivia nights and the participation of the students. Samantha talked about Fresh Market last week. The next Fresh Market will be on the 23rd of October.

    On promotion: Ryan Wong mentioned the lack of flyers in graduate buildings. Shelby, Biomedical Research, Lister Hill, Optometry, and Volker have boards where these flyers can be placed.

    On Mein Bowl: Brian Mentioned the styrofoam bowls at Mein Bowl that needed correcting. Council members noted that it was an impressive quick fix.

    On Chick-fil-A: Brian stated that talks are still ongoing for future retail opportunities.

    On the salad bar: MaryKate asked about protein options for the salad bar. Samantha stated that students could receive those options from Simple Servings and the Deli. Signage will be placed directly on the salad bar to notify students of these options.

    On Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger: There is an overall positive opinion on both items. The Beyond Burger is featured in WOW and the Impossible burger was demoed at the Fresh Market event.

    On Grubhub: Students stated some issues when using the Grubhub app. This issue was solved with sending all issues to Grubhub support so that Grubhub can see the issues within their account

    On Mystery Shoppers: Samantha goes over the requirements and perks of being a Mystery Shopper. Each member will be one and have the opportunity to earn dining dollars for their reviews of dining locations.
    WRAP UP
    Next meeting: Location TBA, Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 at 6 PM.
  • February 27, 2019

    6:00 PM-7:13 PM
    The Dragon’s Den at The Commons

    ATTENDEES
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    David Fabrycki, Campus Executive Chef | UAB Campus Dining
    Dino Martinez, Career Consultant & Assistant Director, Career Center | UAB

    Olivia Harrison
    Olivia Walker
    Wendy Jiang (USGA Dining Representative)
    Rachel Thompson (USGA School of Health Professions Representative)
    Tayyaba Khan
    Kylan Patterson
    Kiara Langford

    DINING UPDATES & DISCUSSION
    Samantha reviewed upcoming events:
    • Throwback Thursdays as a part of UAB’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
    • Tayyaba and Tehreem Khan’s Blazer Bites
    • Fat Tuesday at the Commons on the Green and WOW Café
    • Grumpy’s Seafood Palace
    Samantha reviewed USGA initiatives including:
    • “Ask for a sample” signage at the Commons
    • Campaign advertising Simple Servings as an allergen-free station

    OPEN DISCUSSION
    On an “in their shoes” experience: Tayyaba made a suggestion that students be able to spend time working in the dining locations to get an idea of what it’s really like to be in their shoes. Through a discussion, we came to the conclusion that we could host percentage nights in the Commons on cash and credit sales. This would be an opportunity for RSOs to recruit and for awareness. This can roll out after spring break on Fried Chicken Thursdays.

    On food poisoning: Olivia W. brought up food poisoning and Samantha and Chef discussed the process we go through any time a potential food-borne illness is reported. Dining representatives as well as Patty stressed the importance of timeliness in reporting sickness due to the high volume of customers served on campus, so action can be taken immediately.

    On Tapingo: Olivia W. asked that Full Moon and Panera look into Tapingo for on-campus ordering and delivery. We will be addressing it with those managers.

    On Subway: Olivia W. asked about Subway’s ability to accept Dining Dollars. Although that wouldn’t be an option, Patty suggested we let them know about the Blazer Bucks program. We will reach out to them with information on the program.

    On Commons take-out: Olivia W. asked about the ability to get take-out containers in the Commons on the Green. Chef addressed the issue of adding another single-use disposable to a location and said that isn’t an option at this time, but we are researching a larger scale take out program that could come online in the next year or so if available in our area.

    On healthier options: Olivia W. suggested there be more healthy offerings at campus dining locations including sliced fresh fruit in the Commons. Chef made a commitment to more fruit offerings on the salad bar. Samantha discussed the ongoing menu development at Sandella’s which will include some limited time offers to help build a healthier menu. Chef also pointed to the Dietary Guide as a helpful resource in making healthy choices on campus.

    On the campus Dietary Guide: Dino suggested adding a digital copy of the Dietary Guide to the UAB App. We will collaborate with UAB Mobile to see if this can be added.

    On eggs in the Commons: Kylan requested egg whites for sandwiches and omelets in the Commons. Chef will make sure that egg whites are always available.

    On Mein Bowl portion sizes: Kiara brought up the large portions at Mein Bowl. The council would like to see smaller portions available at Mein Bowl. This will be addressed with operations.

    On healthier options in the C-Store: Wendy suggested adding more healthy options to the C-Store. Chef announced that we will be adding some healthier retail options in the Commons on the Green to meet these needs and expand the takeaway options from the Commons.

    On Starbucks in the Hill Center: Olivia H. brought up a disappointing customer experience she had and Olivia W. mentioned that her drink has been made incorrectly. Samantha addressed that we have a new manager in that location and that additional manager, supervisor, and staff training is being conducted to address these issues from product quality to customer service.


    WRAP UP
    Next meeting: Location TBD, Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 6 PM.
  • January 23, 2019

    6:00 PM-6:57 PM
    The Dragon’s Den at The Commons

    ATTENDEES
    Brian Bowser, Resident District Manager | UAB Campus Dining
    Marc Booker, Director of Housing & Dining | UAB
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    David Fabrycki, Campus Executive Chef | UAB Campus Dining

    Stephanie Kirkland
    Olivia Harrison
    Jaleesa Cole
    Wendy Jiang (USGA Dining Representative)
    Ryan Wong
    Rachel Thompson (USGA School of Health Professions Representative)
    Tayyaba Khan
    Kylan Patterson
    Kiara Langford


    DINING UPDATES & DISCUSSION
    Presented by Samantha Kheim and Brian Bowser

    Samantha presented a reminder about Dragon Cash. Every full-time undergraduate student automatically has $225 to spend at any of the 13 on-campus dining locations plus the Magic City Eats food truck.

    Reviewed upcoming events including:
    • Throwback Thursdays as a part of UAB’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
    • Fried Chicken Thursdays – an official UAB Tradition
    • Superbowl at WOW:
      • Gameday specials include $2 Bud Light Pints, Half Price Triple Plays, 50c Boneless Wings, and 75c Traditional Wings
      • Now accepting large take away orders for Superbowl Sunday
    • Fat Tuesday on March 5th in the Commons and at WOW Café
    • Sodexo’s Beat the Clock Challenge during all home men’s basketball games
    • Share the Love One Meal Initiative Donor to Diner event on February 13th at the Commons on the Green 9 AM-2 PM
    • Balanced Bowls create your own Smoothie Bowl for $5 in the Dragons’ Den in partnership with University Recreation
    Distributed copies of the Spring 2019 Campus Dining Hours of Operation.

    Distributed copies of the final Campus Dining Dietary Guide with the Culinary Council had as an initiative in Fall 2018.


    OPEN DISCUSSION

    On group communication: Olivia Walker (absent) requested to have a Slack Group created for the Culinary Council for discussion between meetings and more purposeful meeting time. Ryan suggested GroupMe as an alternative which was well-received by the group. Samantha will create a GroupMe and share the information with the group this week.

    On Panera and Full Moon efficiency: Olivia Walker (absent) expressed concerns about the wait times and organization at these two Hill Center locations. Her suggestions included pagers and additional employees. The group agreed that there was a lack of organization at Panera. Brian committed to working with Panera to extend their queue line to reduce congestion around the area.

    On Mein Bowl Tapingo order wait times: Olivia Walker (absent) expressed a concern regarding Tapingo wait times and organization including not knowing where to pick up Tapingo orders. Ryan and Kiara stated that using Tapingo at Mein Bowl isn’t recommended because their line moves so quickly including that the longest wait they’ve had has been 10 minutes to get through the line and out the door. Samantha will provide the location with a Tapingo “Pick up here” sign and dining will investigate the Tapingo wait times.

    On Mein Bowl food quality: Olivia Walker (absent) stated that she has had rubbery pieces of chicken. Brian stated that they use fresh chicken thighs for their chicken entrees at Mein Bowl. David followed up with information regarding the daily cooking schedule – stating that everything is made fresh daily. Ryan expressed that the quality and consistency at Mein Bowl has greatly improved over the past year.

    On the Starbucks at the Hill Center: Olivia Walker (absent) gave kudos to the team at this location for their quickness and accuracy on her Tapingo orders.

    On Blazer Catering Co.: Olivia Walker (absent) gave kudos to the catering team for their rebranding and new presentations.

    On Einstein Bros. Bagels hours of operation: Rachel expressed concerns about the hours at this location stating that many students are just arriving at 5 PM for night classes and Einstein Bros. is closing at that time. She suggested extending hours by 30 minutes Monday through Thursday to meet the coffee needs of SHP students. Brian committed to looking at traffic patterns and needs in the area to decide on the hours of operation. Patty also mentioned the three new locations that will open in the 2020 residence hall as a long-term solution. Rachel is hosting a tabling on February 14th 11 AM-1:30 PM to collect information at the Learning Resource Center. She is to connect with Samantha regarding having a dining representative present.

    On water cups: Wendy has had a few people contact her about being charged for water cups at various retail outlets when they purchase food. Samantha contacted the Director of Retail Operations and location managers immediately to take care of this and is ensuring current water cup signage is set at each location.

    On Mein Bowl meal sizes: Wendy mentioned that students are looking for a smaller meal option from Mein Bowl including a “kid’s bowl” size or being able to purchase entrees a la carte without sides. Brian and Samantha will take this feedback to the location manager.

    On food quality: Ryan gave kudos on the food quality consistency in the Commons throughout the semester and even leading up to winter break. He mentioned that was typically a time when food quality and variety would take a hit, but that didn’t happen.

    On comment cards: Wendy asked about who provides the comment cards in the Commons. USGA should be providing these cards and Marc and Patty will assist in facilitating those.


    WRAP UP
    Next meeting: Location TBD, Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 6 PM.

    Reminder: Dinner with the Director open discussion will be held on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 5:30 PM in the Commons on the Green. Watch your email for RSVP information.
  • October 30, 2018

    6:00 PM-7:10 PM
    The Dragon’s Den at The Commons

    ATTENDEES
    Brian Bowser, Resident District Manager | UAB Campus Dining
    Marc Booker, Director of Housing & Dining | UAB
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    Sawyer Bailey, Secretary & Marketing Intern | UAB Culinary Council


    Olivia Harrison
    Jaleesa Cole
    Wendy Jiang
    Tayyaba Khan
    Kylan Patterson
    Kiara Langford
    Kylie Debardlebon
    Olivia Walker
    Ryan Wong


    News from Resident District Manager:

    Calendar Review: The UAB Campus Dining Calendar is physically posted in different locations on campus with dates of upcoming events. The current calendar can also be found here.
    https://www.uab.edu/students/dining/events

    Dietary Guide: UAB Campus Dining has a variety of unique options to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences at all of our locations. We strive to ensure we can meet a wide range of needs and lifestyles.

    Satisfaction Survey Review: UAB Campus Dining released a satisfactory survey earlier in the fall semester that gave Students the opportunity to share their input on what they like and dislike about the university’s dining locations. The survey also gave them the chance to share what dining improvements they would like to see around campus. The survey results showed a 5% increase in satisfaction in overall campus dining experiences at UAB.

    Skip the Straw Campaign: Did you know the United States goes through 500 million straws every day? That is enough to circle around the earth 2.5 times! UAB Campus Dining is making a difference by launching the #SkipTheStraw Campaign to bring awareness to the environmental effect something as small as a straw has on the planet! This campaign will encourage students to take the first step in improving the ecosystem by not using a straw when they eat on campus.


    Open Discussion:

    On picking up Tapingo orders at WOW Cafe: During the later hours at WOW, there is not always a runner present at the front counter to distribute Tapingo orders. Brian will speak to WOW café manager, Brandon, to ensure there are two people at the front counter more often so that orders may be placed simultaneously while Tapingo orders are being handed out.

    On The Commons weekend hours: The Commons on the Green current weekend hours are 10:30 am-7pm. Some students would like to extend these hours to earlier in the mornings for breakfast. Campus Dining will be looking into factors such as financials, employee availability, and student interest.

    On possible new Simply to Go locations: Simply to Go currently operates out of the Commons and C-Store and offers a variety of food options for students that may be in a hurry. It was suggested that UAB Dining should look into opening another location that is more convenient for students taking classes closer to the medical research buildings. Dining is looking into potential options for a new Simply to Go location, including the new College of Nursing building.

    On paper straws: UAB Dining has recently made the switch from plastic straws to paper straws in an effort to encourage environmental sustainability around campus. This decision has received many mixed reviews from students. UAB Dining will continue to serve paper straws as an environmental effort which began from student requests.

  • September 26, 2018

    September 26, 2018
    6:00 PM-7:10 PM
    Hill Student Center, Ballroom D

    ATTENDEES
    Brian Bowser, Resident District Manager | UAB Campus Dining
    Marc Booker, Director of Housing & Dining | UAB
    Samantha Kheim, Marketing Director | UAB Campus Dining
    Patty Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | UAB
    Shanesia Abrams, Secretary & Marketing Intern | UAB Culinary Council

    Maria Jiminez (junior, off-campus resident)
    Stephanie Kirklan (graduate student, off-campus resident)
    Olivia Harrison (junior, off-campus resident)
    Jaleesa Cole (junior, on-campus resident)
    Wendy Jiang (sophomore, on-campus resident)
    Tayyaba Khan (sophomore, off-campus resident)
    Kylan Patterson (sophomore, on-campus resident)
    Kiara Langford (freshman, on-campus resident)
    Kylie Debardlebon (sophomore, on-campus resident)


    DINING PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION
    Presented by Samantha Kheim and Brian Bowser

    View Presentation

    Purpose Statement: The purpose of the Food Advisory Council for Students is to be an open forum to discuss strategies for UAB Campus Dining to continue exceeding the expectations of customers.

    Branding: Our goal is to advance within three pillars (food variety, food quality, and customer service). The goal for this group is to be ambassadors for dining. The group chose a new logo (shown above). Samantha to add green and send to group. Dining to get t-shirts made for group prior to October meeting.

    New locations: Jamba Juice and Sandella’s in the new Collat School of Business. The goal is for both locations to be open until 6-7 PM in the coming months. Currently running shorter hours of operation due to the lack of classes being taught in the building. Magic City Eats food truck is the only truck in the state that accepts meal plans, dining dollars, and Blazer Bucks. The truck was intentionally branded so the menu could change with each event. Brian made a commitment to the university to never serve anything over $6 on the truck.

    New team members: Chef Allie Foster (Executive Catering Chef), Brandon Day (Retail Manager), Versie Cunningham (Retail Manager), Chef David Fabrycki (Campus Executive Chef)

    New meal plans: Added an unlimited 5-day option with the Dragonfire 5 plan. We renamed all plans. Added an MVP option to the unlimited Dragonfire plans. Renamed Dining Dollars to Dragon Cash to reduce confusion.

    New menus: Expanded the Den’s 5 for $5 menu. Expanded the Commons Mindful Mondays to an 80% Mindful menus. Added fresh cut fruit at Zime. WOW Café currently running a Hot Honey Chicken sandwich. Einstein Bros. currently has a pumpkin feast and crispy chicken limited time offer. At Starbucks, it’s PSL season.

    New catering: Rebranded to Blazer Catering Co. Reviewed student catering guide. Over the next few months, we’re building a student online ordering portal. Students can use dining dollars, Dragon Cash, and Blazer Bucks to purchase catering.

    What’s coming soon: Reviewed October events calendars. Can be viewed online at uab.edu/dining.

    OPEN DISCUSSION
    On the Hill Student Center exclusive catering: Blazer Catering Co. is the exclusive caterer for the Hill Student Center. Some student groups would like to hold a bake sale but the costs may be too prohibitive. On a case-by-case basis, student groups can set up a meeting with Brian to discuss their needs to investigate if it’s a mutual fit and if so, look into discounts and donations. Patty also mentioned that it has a lot to do with food safety. When a group that isn’t certified to cook and serve food sells items, it puts the individual, the group, and the university at risk. Utilizing a licensed food provider is safer.

    On vegan options on campus: All menus are available online at uab.edu/dining. These have been updated for the new year and there are always ways to modify the menu to fit your needs (like ordering a salad without chicken and bacon). You can also use the Bite by Sodexo app which shows daily Commons menus and can filter by preference or allergy. Samantha to put together a full dietary guide for students with restrictions and preferences. Dining believes in truth in advertising and conducts daily audits that make sure products are being sold correctly. Students suggested adding more options which animal-based proteins can be added to instead of full pans of non-vegetarian items (like having alfredo and chicken alfredo available).

    On Halal chicken: The Commons serves Halal chicken made to order at the Simple Servings station. All of the chicken served in the Commons does come in Halal but is not prepared in a Halal environment. Dining does not have a certified Halal or Kosher kitchen, but we do have Halal and Kosher-style foods. Tayyaba to order Halal chicken at Simple Servings and report back to Brian about her experience. If students ever have a problem ordering this, they should request to speak to a manager.

    On protein options in the Commons: Some nights, there will be pork at both Classics and Simple Servings. This is something Brian will take back to the chefs to ensure we aren’t serving the same protein on both lines during the same meal period.

    WRAP UP
    Next meeting: Students want to be surprised with the location – to be announced in the second week of October. Meeting will be on October 24, 2018.

    Employee of the month: Students encouraged to nominate a dining employee when they have a great customer experience. Email nomination to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Samantha to send follow-up email with new logo, t-shirt design, and presentation.

    Dining to update FACS webpage to Culinary Council which will house presentations and meeting minutes.

  • November 15, 2017

    Members of the Food Advisory Committee assembled Wednesday, November 15th at 5:30 pm in the Hill Student Center for our third meeting of the year. Campus Dining Marketing Manager Christen Pitner gave a brief presentation regarding previous and upcoming events for Campus Dining, as well as a review of the changes made to dining services so far based on student feedback. Retail Operations Manager, Kiawanna Everett, was our guest speaker and was heavily involved during the Q&A session regarding any changes or concerns students had about our retail locations.

    During our Q&A session, Kiawanna was asked about the two new locations, Jamba Juice & Sandella’s, that will be in the Collat School of Business which is currently under construction. It was mentioned that nursing students need more dining options on the other side of campus. We are looking into expanding Einstein in its current location if possible. It was also mentioned that it might be time for us to conduct a new traffic study in the Lister Hill library area of campus to determine if we could consider adding another dining location there as well.

    There will definitely be a new dining location when the new residence hall is built in 2020. There was a conversation regarding the best option for the residence hall which included a Mexican food concept or pizza. Something that will be open later than the Commons was also highly important to the students. FACs members would like a survey to be sent to students asking them what they prefer for a residence hall dining option.

    USGA representatives also discussed several comments from constituents, including :

    • Yogurt bar is a big hit. Students would like to see yogurt offered throughout the entire day on the salad bar, particularly during lunch.
    • A $5 combo option at the Den, in addition to current chicken finger combo (note: It has since been determined the veggie combo never went away, however we will do a better job to advertise this option and can also consider adding a third combo.)
    • Fruity Pebbles cereal is still a big request, now that we have generic cereal containers, USGA would like to see this as a cereal option at Commons.
    • Please keep the cinnamon toast crunch cereal stocked, it’s very popular and tends to run out.
    • Some students have mentioned experience dissatisfaction with the rice on the sushi at Mein Bowl. Our contract with Hisso is 5 years, we have 3 years left. Students should return product immediately if they are unhappy. We will also keep checking on the product to be sure it is satisfactory.
    • It was requested that knives be made available at Mein Bowl.
    • Also, USGA senators officially passed the bill for sustainable containers at Mein Bowl, so those are now being used.
    • We are in the process of having new dish accumulators being replaced and added in the dish return area at The Commons.
    • The almond milk at The Commons is sometimes separated and does not look or taste as it should. We will work with our staff to ensure they are following protocol for installing the product.
    • Customer service feedback: Most students reported having great service although sometimes there are employees at Starbucks who are wearing their ear buds or rude late at night. The Cstore employees also seem to play their own music in the evenings. Starbucks employees in the afternoon at the Hill Center were given great reviews, however it was mentioned that sometimes you could receive the nationwide Starbucks promotions and sometimes you cannot. This needs to be consistent at all times among both locations.
    • Students need to know where they can give feedback for Campus Dining, therefore we will add digital screens across campus with that information
    • Some Tapingo locations have moved the pick-up location to behind the counter. If this is the new operations procedure, we need to put signage indicating for students to ask for their Tapingo order.
    • We are in the beginning stages of a receipt paper sustainability project in which all locations that we can control are no longer printing a receipt unless a customer asks for it. This project is being submitted by UAB for a Clinton Global Initiative award.

    Our next FACS meeting is Wednesday, January 17th at 5:30 pm in HUC 101.

  • October 18, 2017

    Members of the Food Advisory Committee assembled Wednesday, October 18th at 5:30 pm in the Hill Student Center for our second meeting of the year. Campus Dining Marketing Manager Christen Pitner gave a brief presentation regarding previous and upcoming events for Campus Dining, as well as a review of the changes made to dining services so far based on student feedback. Commons Operations Manager, Bobby Eaton, was our guest speaker and was heavily involved during the Q&A session regarding changes students want to see made at The Commons.

    During our Q&A session, USGA representatives asked for a recap of the renovations made at The Commons this summer and if there were any renovations still to come. One of our largest projects regarding renovations included a new dish machine that is equipped to handle a larger quantity of dishes, based on the growing student population at UAB. We also have a new pizza oven that has allowed us to produce more than 100 pizzas a day to keep up the demand at The Commons. We also have new countertops, finishes, carpet and furniture packages. We are currently waiting on a booth and a few more furniture packages and that will complete the Phase I of these Commons renovations.

    As UAB continues to grow, we will outgrow the seating package at Commons. Phase II of renovations slated for the future will be to either add a dining hall to our campus dining portfolio, or expand our seating options by either adding a mezzanine floor or expanding out to enclose the patio area.

    USGA representatives also discussed several comments from the comment box, including :

    • Yogurt bar is a big hit. Students would like to see chocolate chips available as a topping every morning.
    • Frank’s hot sauce available in larger quantity than the small bottles currently available.
    • Fruity Pebbles cereal is a big request, however it is not a General Mills product, therefore we cannot order it. Instead, we now have Trix, a similar cereal, as an option. We are also looking into new cereal dispensers that will work better.
    • More Simply to Go options – especially for breakfast. Also vegetarian wraps or other options for lunch. It would also be great if we could have nutrigrain bars and similar items for Simply to Go.
    • Gluten free bread options with specific toaster at Simple Servings was mentioned in our last meeting and we are just waiting on the toaster to be delivered so that we can get that put into place.
    • Omelet bar at The Commons is using too much butter to make the omelets. They are too greasy and unhealthy at the moment. We will work with the Omelet station worker to be sure they are following recipe cards.
    • Almond milk options have been limited at times because we have run out of product. We are going to gauge our par to be sure we are ordering enough product throughout the semester.
    • Ice cream container still needs to be stabilized. We have worked with Bresco to order the parts necessary that will make the containers stable. Students also mentioned wanting more flavors of ice cream than the same four currently offered, so we will begin rotating out a couple of flavors and will also work to create a poll to ask students what flavors they want to have. Some flavors mentioned were cookie dough, coffee, cookies and cream, sugar free and flavors for those with allergens.
    • Students were also interested in peppermints and toothpicks being offered at the cash register for people to take as they leave.

    Our next FACS meeting is Wednesday, November 15th at 5:30 pm in HUC 220.

  • September 27, 2017

    Members of the Food Advisory Committee assembled Wednesday, September 27th at 5:30 pm in the Hill Student Center for our first meeting of the year. Campus Dining Marketing Manager Christen Pitner gave a brief presentation regarding previous and upcoming events for Campus Dining. Our new Executive Chef Andreas Ortner was our guest speaker and was heavily involved during the Q&A session regarding changes students want to see made at The Commons.

    During our Q&A session, USGA representatives discussed several comments from the comment box including requests for fruity pebbles, more fruit options other than apples and bananas, more vegan & vegetarian options like chickpeas, curry and potatoes. It was also mentioned that Simply to Go also needs more vegetarian and vegan options. Chef Andreas gave several suggestions on how we can solve these needs and wants of the students.

    USGA would also like for us to begin promoting when we make changes based on student feedback. Marketing will begin to reflect this collaboration as soon as these needs are addressed at The Commons.

    Our INTO representative also mentioned that international students would like to see more vegetables and fruits on the menu.

    There was a discussion regarding charges made to students at Mein Bowl who were purchasing vegetables with their bowl thinking it was included in the price. We are working with our brand manager to see if we can get the two bowls (Orange chicken & General Tso) on the BYOB menu, which will allow for vegetables to be included with the dish free of charge. In the meantime, we are working with alerting Mein Bowl to communicate with students that there will be an additional charge for vegetables if they purchase those spotlight bowls.

    The lowest buy-in for meal plans increased this year, which was not anticipated by students. It has been discussed to look into adding another lower cost meal plan, even though UAB meal plans are still lower than almost all other colleges in Alabama. We are looking into the best way to communicate with students why the meal plan increased and also what the students have received with that investment.

    Overall students seem please with the renovations at The Commons, as well as the food that is served. Those who have been using the BITE app are particularly pleased at the convenience that allows them to view the menu easily without having to stop by the Commons or go online. UAB students are very pleased with our new $5 Mindful Monday promotion.

    Tapingo still seems to be operating well and very successful among students, even the freshmen. It was mentioned however that they would like to see more BlazerBucks merchants available on Tapingo.

    Our next FACS meeting is Wednesday, October 18th at 5:30 pm in HUC 220.