Michigan State University is temporarily closing its residential dining halls to the public as it addresses a labor shortage with its culinary services.
Only those with MSU-issued IDs will be allowed to enter campus dining facilities. The culinary team took this step to ensure facilities are running as efficiently as possible, MSU said.
Many services have been adjusted to alleviate some of the burdens. Those adjustments include limiting menu options to serve students during transitional hours and providing mobile ordering.
Students were given twice the number Combo-X Change (CX) meals with their dining plans for a total of 12 CX meals per week. Students also have the option to get meals from Starbucks, all venues in the International Center Food Court, The Workshop at the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility, and Biggby coffee in the MSU Union.
“Given our current challenges, we need to modify operations in our dining facilities,” Culinary Services Executive Director Rebecca Selesky said. “This step will help us continue providing quality service to MSU students, faculty and support staff. We also need to support our team members who are working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding experience to guests.”
MSU’s culinary services typically employs 2,800 student team members, 800 temporary and on-call employees, and 470 full-time team members. When COVID-19 closed the university to in-person classes in spring 2020 and most students returned home, dining operations and staffing were reduced to serve the remaining students and staff on campus. Many of the workers took other positions, MSU said.
“Closing the residential dining halls to the public was a difficult decision,” Selesky said. “However, it is our responsibility to minimize the impact of labor and food supply chain shortages and maintain our commitment to high-quality customer service. We determined that limiting public access was the best way to serve the high volume of students who dine with us. Our human resources team is working diligently to recruit and hire team members so that we may get as close to full operations as possible.”